Fathering a child in your 60s is becoming more prevalent in today's society. The reason for this, according a "Daily Mail" article, is the changing face of the family unit. There has been a trend towards second marriages and settling down later in life. Becoming a father in your 60s has a variety of benefits, such as potentially having more time and money to devote to your offspring, but there are also drawbacks, such as increased health risks.
A 2011 “Daily Mail” article reports that a research study done by the Huntington Medicina Reproductiva clinic in Brazil of IVF patients indicated that men’s fertility declines as they age. In the study, fertility declined by up to 7 percent per year in men between the ages of 41 and 45. After 45, fertility declined even more rapidly, which is a cause for concern for men considering fatherhood in their 60s. In 2011, the medical journal “Reviews in Urology” reported that male aging has other effects on fertility as well, including an increased amount of time to conceive and increased miscarriage rates.
Fathers in their 60s could have an effect on their children’s health and well-being. Paternal age has an effect on the physical health of a child, according to the “American Journal of Men’s Health.” The May 2012 issue reports a 48 percent increased risk of late stillbirth in infants when fathers were older than 45. The report also indicated an increased risk of low birth weight, preterm birth and small size for gestational age for babies of older fathers.
Children of older fathers have an increased risk for a variety of mental illnesses and conditions. An article in the September 2008 issue of “JAMA Psychiatry” reports that children of men 55 and older have an increased risk of a bipolar disorder diagnosis. A study published in the September 2006 issue of “JAMA Psychiatry” reports that children born to men over 40 had a six times higher risk of developing autism than those born to men under 30. The research also indicates that this risk doubles every ten years, which is something to consider for men fathering children in their 60s. The article also reports that children born to older fathers have an increased risk of schizophrenia and decreased intellectual capacity.
Fathering a child in your 60s does have its advantages, though. In a “Daily Mail” article, David Kesterton of the Family Planning Association explains that older fathers with life experience may be able to communicate well with their child and have more time to play an active role in his upbringing. An article in “Time" magazine also points out that testosterone levels drop 1 percent each year as men age. This means that older fathers might be less reactive and have more patience for children than younger fathers. However, men who father children in their 60s have to consider that they will have teenagers in their 70s and 80s. Also, older fathers may simply no longer be around for major life events of their children, such as weddings, graduations and the birth of grandchildren.