In Occident, the average age of parents at the time of the birth of their first child has been increasing over the past decades. We know that women who wait until they are older to start a family are more at risk of miscarriage or giving birth to a child with a genetic disease such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). But what about the dads? A small study has shown that men who, like women, wait until they are older to start a family may find it more difficult to father a child and be at higher risk of transmitting certain genetic disorders to their children.
Some 100 American men enrolled in the study. Sperm analysis revealed increased numbers of genetic mutations that could lead to schizophenia, achondroplasy (a type of dwarfism) or Apert Syndrome, which causes head malformations. The study also showed that there were no relation between sperm number and motility and these genetic mutations.
This small study will certainly open doors to many others, for example on the effects of the environment and lifestyle on sperm quality.