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Do men have a biological clock?

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trillionaire

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...maybe they should!

By Lisa Belkin
updated 9:20 a.m. ET, Mon., April 6, 2009

Read between the lines of a recent study out of Australia and you can see hints of a coming shift in the gender conversation. Researchers at the University of Queensland found that children born to older fathers have, on average, lower scores on tests of intelligence than those born to younger dads. Data they analyzed from more than 33,000 American children showed that the older the man when a child is conceived, the lower a child’s score is likely to be on tests of concentration, memory, reasoning and reading skills, at least through age 7.


It was a small difference — just a few I.Q. points separated a child born to a 20-year-old and a child born to a 50-year-old. But it adds weight to a new consensus-in-the-making: There is no fountain of youth for sperm, no ‘‘get out of aging free’’ card. The little swimmers, scientists are finding, one study at a time, get older and less dependable along with every other cell in the male body.


And men don’t have to be all that old to be ‘‘too old.’’ French researchers reported last year that the chance of a couple’s conceiving begins to fall when the man is older than 35 and falls sharply if he is older than 40. British and Swedish researchers, in turn, have calculated that the risk of schizophrenia begins to rise for those whose fathers were over 30 when their babies were born. And another Swedish study has found that the risk of bipolar disorder in children begins to increase when fathers are older than 29 and is highest if they are older than 55. British and American researchers found that babies born to men over the age of 40 have significantly greater risk of autism than do those born to men under 30. (The age of the mother, in most of these studies, showed little or no correlation.)

Lay this latest I.Q. news atop the pile, and you find yourself reaching the same conclusion as Dr. Dolores Malaspina, a professor of psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, who has done some of the schizophrenia research: ‘‘It turns out the optimal age for being a mother is the same as the optimal age for being a father.’’


Read more... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30035348/
 

Mara

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yep i have heard the stats about autism in men over 40 increasing, of course i heard about it earlier this year when my hub was already 40. oh well! i am 34 so we plan to try to do something soon, because we are only both getting older. i have some friends who are having babies around my age (2nd ones typically) and they all say its harder the 2nd time around and they think it's due to being older.

my girlfriend who has a 1.5 year old son says she noticed that kids in her son's play group with older parents seemed to learn to walk more slowly, are learning to talk more slowly. she didn't read anything on it, just said she noticed that whenever there was a child who was a little 'behind' her son...he was typically with older parents. i'm screwed!
 

trillionaire

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I wonder if this thinking is ever really going to catch on. It''s so much easier to give it less thought when you aren''t the ''carrier''. I haven''t noticed many guys even looking to settle down much before 30, let alone itching to have kids...
 

LaraOnline

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Well thank GOD the spotlight on sexual aging is finally being turned on men!!

The whole conversation related to the age of mums has really highlighted how science can reflect non-science assumptions based on cultural expectation.
It makes me soooo mad, particularly as it is often MEN that delay marriage and children, using the ''sexed up feminism'' approach (''an independent woman shouldn''t want to marry'' ) to delay!

I have a friend who married a man 20 years older than herself. I was staggered to hear her tell me that he wants to have sex once every FOUR MONTHS!

How many men do you know that actually talk TRUTHFULLY and HONESTLY about their sexual problems?

I know NONE!!! And this lack of honestly is directly reflected in the media!!!!

When women start enjoying the looks of very young men as ''eye candy'', and this enjoyment is celebrated in media via sexy young boys lying on cars, or gratuitous sex scenes involving older, ungroomed women with primped, primed men, then we will know that sexual power for women is not just lip-service! (Although yes, it is depressing that the lowest-common-denominator always seems to win in discussions around this aspect of life)

The cultural emphasis on the physical beauty of young women (as opposed to that of men) is proof in itself of the power assumptions made by men - the good old ''hey! we''re visual beings'' b******t!
 

ksinger

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Date: 4/10/2009 6:45:57 PM
Author: trillionaire
I wonder if this thinking is ever really going to catch on. It''s so much easier to give it less thought when you aren''t the ''carrier''. I haven''t noticed many guys even looking to settle down much before 30, let alone itching to have kids...
Yeah, well don''t expect it to happen- the catching on. I talked with one guy about it instead of finding it plausible and/or interesting, he summarily dismissed it as rubbish, and said that their sperm stays just the same. (Like he would know) And then started in on the wonders of vitamin supplements.
Whatever you need to make yourself feel like an Immortal Master of The Universe, I guess.
No wonder Lillith left.
 

Dancing Fire

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Date: 4/10/2009 8:45:40 PM
Author: LaraOnline

How many men do you know that actually talk TRUTHFULLY and HONESTLY about their sexual problems?
i ran out of ammunitions years ago.
 

LaraOnline

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Oh you are a sweetie!
 

LaraOnline

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Date: 4/10/2009 9:43:45 PM
Author: ksinger
Whatever you need to make yourself feel like an Immortal Master of The Universe, I guess.
No wonder Lillith left.
Remember all the smug newspaper articles describing how women''s eggs were ''aged'' because they''d been in the woman''s body since it formed within her own mother''s uterus?

Yet there were men, constantly producing a ''fresh supply '' of sperm, lovely sperm?!!

And yet all the time, we have known that not only do individual cells age, but that older people are more likely to have mutations in their newly produced cells, too!
 

sba771

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my FMIL must have read this- we saw her this week and within 1 hour she told my 31 year old FI 3 times that we better get cracking on babies since his sperm is getting old. Mind you I am 23 and we still have 2 years to the wedding.
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/10/2009 11:49:54 PM
Author: sba771
my FMIL must have read this- we saw her this week and within 1 hour she told my 31 year old FI 3 times that we better get cracking on babies since his sperm is getting old. Mind you I am 23 and we still have 2 years to the wedding.
LOL - sba, your FMIL sounds like a handful


I think its important to remember that for every article like this, there are exceptions. My parents were both supposed to never be able to have kids again, and where both well over 40 when I was born, but I''ve never been anything resembling, um, slow. In fact if anything my problem lies in the other direction


I''m not saying that people should base their decisions on exceptions to the general rule, but its important to know that just because you''re over a certain age, all hope is not lost
 

Courtneylub

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I''ll let you know if my child, who is due in a couple of weeks, is any less intelligent due to her father being 45.
 

Mara

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I agree AG... of course there are always exceptions. My sis was born to my parents when my Mom was 41, 18 years ago and that was far more rare then than it is now... and she is prob smarter than all of us...definitely has always been wiser at her ages than any of us. Hope, a glimmer of light! hahaha.

But yeah my friend whose son plays with a huge play group...she is the one who noticed that the slightly ''slower to hit milestones'' kids were always with older parents before I even read anything about it. Of course she used this to try to get us to rush and have kids so that her son could have a playmate LOL.
 

icekid

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Ugh... I am so pathetically baby fever-ish that I see this thread as further justification to have a baby soon. And until about the last 6 months, I have never ever ever wanted to be pregnant. I still don''t really, but I want a baby
(and someone to take care of it, while I am working
). I don''t think it can be my biological clock yet, at (almost) 28. Hub is 29 and is in no rush, though...
 

JerseyGrl81

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I wonder how the age of the older fathers is correlated with the age of the mothers? Could this be because the younger men conceive with younger woman and visa versa?
 

NewEnglandLady

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Interesting. We just had a long conversation about the timing of babies last night--I do feel that men have a biological clock, at least D does. While my focus is having children by a certain age so I can do what is healthiest for our future kiddies, his focus is on the timing. He wants to be settled and established in his career so that I can stay at home, but doesn''t want to wait so long that he will feel to old to play with baseball, football, etc. as his kids grow up. Again, it boils down to never knowing when you feel "ready"...we both have our own concerns with having them too early and too late.
 

mia1181

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Date: 4/11/2009 6:28:53 PM
Author: icekid
Ugh... I am so pathetically baby fever-ish that I see this thread as further justification to have a baby soon. And until about the last 6 months, I have never ever ever wanted to be pregnant. I still don''t really, but I want a baby
(and someone to take care of it, while I am working
). I don''t think it can be my biological clock yet, at (almost) 28. Hub is 29 and is in no rush, though...
ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS TWINZZZ! He he! When I saw this thread a few days ago I almost posted "Thanks for posting... More ammunition to get after DH!
" But poor DH is only 27 (he''ll be 28 in April and I''ll be 28 in November) so we are not quite in the geriatric department yet. But it sure feels that way sometimes! Ice, I have no "need" to be pregnant either, I''d actually love to adopt. But since adoption is so expensive, DH and I will probably TTC. That sounds horrible... but I hope you get what I am saying. If we run into any trouble TTCing I have my adoption agency picked out and everything!

But you bring up a good point, I really believe "baby fever" is a natural urge that is built into us (carrying on the species or whatever). I have wanted to be a mother all my life and have always loved children/babies, but this past year it has hit really hard. I feel such a sense of urgency all of a sudden. And sometimes it feels so silly, since I just got married and I guess I should be enjoying my married life. I also wonder if has to do with the natural sequence of events and looking forward to the next stage of life. It''s like you go from a LIW, to planning a wedding, and then what? What is there to plan (obsess over
) next? I don''t know, but to me it feels more chemical than anything because I don''t feel sad or anything that the wedding is over and I eloped anyway so it wasn''t like my wedding was a big production or anything. I am a generally content person, but I sure want a baby!
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/11/2009 5:20:26 PM
Author: Mara
I agree AG... of course there are always exceptions. My sis was born to my parents when my Mom was 41, 18 years ago and that was far more rare then than it is now... and she is prob smarter than all of us...definitely has always been wiser at her ages than any of us. Hope, a glimmer of light! hahaha.


But yeah my friend whose son plays with a huge play group...she is the one who noticed that the slightly ''slower to hit milestones'' kids were always with older parents before I even read anything about it. Of course she used this to try to get us to rush and have kids so that her son could have a playmate LOL.
Yeah I was born to my mom when she was 43, 27 years ago, so that was definitely a bit of a shocker


Its interesting what you say about slowness too. I was early on some things (walked at 9 months, never crawled), but a bit late on others, but then I tended to be farther along once I did start doing those things I was a bit late on - I didn''t speak until about 1.5-2, but then it was in complete paragraphs, didn''t read until 2nd grade, but then it was 8th grade books. I wonder if your friend has noticed if those slightly "slower" kids "catch up" so to speak?
 

LaraOnline

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These kinds of stories are really just looking at overall patterns, rather than individuals.
When they test newly pregnant mum for likelihood of downs syndrome, they weigh really heavily for age ... but there are also other factors to consider.
My obstetrician told me there was no reason for me not to come back in a couple of years for another one, if I chose to, based on my 'score'. I am 37 right now, my husband is 40.

In one of the stories I read relating to this topic, the researchers were saying this finding about fathers directly contradicted earlier findings that related high intelligence with older mums! But apparently they had isolated the information to 'cancel out' the mum factor on this one...

I'm glad they're looking into this side of stuff. Aging (and baby-making) is such an hysterical, emotional topic for most of us, it's good to get all the cultural baggage out of the attic!

Personally, my life is much more enjoyable now than it's ever been. Having a man that's 'grown-up' enough to really play nicely is an important part of that as well!! So biological clocks for dad are a public good that should be encouraged, imho!
 

vetrik

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I think my DH has much more of a biological clock than I do!

We''ve been married for 5 years next month, and I think, truthfully, he would have been ready for kids years ago. I was the one that kept putting it off because I wasn''t ready yet. He loves kids (much more than me) and he wanted to be pretty young when we had kids.

We started trying last year, and I never really did feel that overwhelming urge to have kids right away. I always wanted kids, the timing definitely seemed right, and we''ve always planned at least 5-6 years between the 1st and the 2nd, so it did make sense to get started. I''m 28 weeks pregnant with our first right now, due in July - DH will be 30 when it''s born, and I''ll be 28 (29 in November). I am excited to be pregnant and to meet our little one too, and it''s really sweet to see how my DH is over the moon!

It has been funny being in a marriage where it seems like the traditional roles are reversed, at least as far as the biological clock is concerned. I do think my DH is an exception - I''m at an age where my friends are starting to have kids, and it was always the woman who pushed for it more than the man. I think a lot of men would be surprised to learn that their fertility could be affected by waiting too.
 

icekid

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Date: 4/11/2009 8:21:40 PM
Author: mia1181
ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS TWINZZZ! He he!
oh my... way too funny! I am such the obsessive planner, too. We are two peas in a pod


Seriously on the adoption thing though- I''ve always, always seen myself adopting. However, as you said it is expensive (and time-consuming) so I do not think it would be possible during my residency. And I really think there is no way I''ll be waiting to finish my training in 4 years for a first kid
Plus my hubby really wants a bio kid! So I figured the first will be biological, and then eventually we''ll adopt a couple. That way I only have to be pregnant once
 

LtlFirecracker

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Icekid,

A lot of people I know have been pregnant through residency and been fine. You are about to be done with the worst of it, your schedule should ease up a little, there might be some tough months, but overall it is better. The only thing that sucks about giving birth through residency is that you have to go back to work after maternity leave, and it tends to be short. A lot of my friends quit their jobs and went back later when they had a baby.

BTW, I am turning 30 next week and my BF is 38, and we aren''t married. I am wondering how worried I should be???
 
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