Possible Genetic Birth Defects in Children of Older Men

genetic birth defects

If you’re a middle aged male concerned about maximizing your future child’s health, you may want to think twice about dosing off to sleep versus staying awake to your own biological imperative.

New Dutch research is showing that men who snooze might be losing some of their child’s genetic material to possible genetic birth defects. These findings are based on 118 children whose genome, or genetic code, that were analyzed at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

Lead researcher, Jayne Hehir-Kwa explained, “We were looking at a specific form of genetic mutation which we find in some children with an intellectual disability.” In other words, diseases that are genetic.

In the cases in question, both of the parents of the child are healthy (genetically), but the child is born with missing, repeated, inverted or misplaced DNA sequences.

DNA is packed into 23 pairs of chromosomes. Half of the genetic material comes from the father, and half from the mother.

Researchers were concerned with genetic disease in children, trying to determine which parent bore responsibility for the defective DNA. “We found there was a strong bias towards the father’s DNA,” said Dr. Hehir-Kwa.

The results of the study were statistically significant: 90 out of the 118 children with the genetic birth defects were links to the fathers. The older the male, the higher the assumed risk for fathering a child born with as genetic birth defect.

Earlier research has also suggested that older men may be at higher risk for not only developing some sort of genetic disease in children, but also developing other diseases like schizophrenia. However, “this is the first study linking these genetic mutations for intellectual disability to the father’s age,” said Dr. Hehir-Kwa.

The findings were published in the Journal of Medical Genetics, and Hehir-Kwa suspects the problem arises from faulty sperm production in the older men. This causes the subsequent genetic birth defects.

The results of the study should not be taken to represent one of the major causes of genetic diseases in children. Intellectual disabilities occur at a rate of 1 per cent of births, and “the [genetic] variants we looked explain 10 percent of that 1 per cent,” Hehir-Kwa said.

Preborn children are extremely susceptible to a myriad of environmental factors which can have long term effects. In an other study a correlation between smoking while pregnant and an increased risk of becoming a criminal was explored.

With the above in mind: life is short, and full of dangers to your child. In the case of having healthy children, it seems to make sense to ‘live for the moment’ as opposed to the future. A man thereby inflates his chances to a rigid assurance that he is not endangering their child’s genetic opportunities. In other words, men, if she’s not in the mood, show her this article.


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