Older Dads Like George Clooney Have Biological Clocks Or Health Risks With Having Babies Late, Study Reveals

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 15, 04:00 am
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George Clooney, Matt Damon and other celebs on the US election
George Clooney, 55, is going to be a dad to twins due in June.
(Photo : Mike Windle/Getty Images for MPTF )

It's widely known that for a mom in her '40s or '50s, having a baby has its risk but the risk for older dads isn't widely talked about. With 55-year-old George Clooney becoming a dad for the first time, however, the spotlight is shining on older dads.

Just how risky is it for men to become fathers in their '50s like Clooney, who is expecting twins in June with wife Amal? Experts say that like moms, dads have biological clocks and health risks as well, but the conditions are different.

Fertility expert Dr. Mary Samplaski told CNN that with older dads, the issue isn't about the virility of the sperms because they can still father children in late-age without the help of science. The problem with aging sperms, however, is its DNA can likely result in babies developing mental problems.

Samplaski supported this with a Swedish study published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal in 2014 that showed genes from aging sperms have a small percent of delivering offspring with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

Children born to older fathers could also risk achondroplasia or dwarfism. According to She Knows, even as the percentage of this risk is small, many dads are opting to bank their healthier sperms for future use.

Aside from genetic reasons, however, older dads might also struggle with running after toddlers or late night feeding sessions that their body cannot manage. Ron Brounes, who became a dad in his '40s, wrote on Huffington Post the physical strains of keeping up with kids below 6-years-old are real but children also benefit from the wisdom of older parents better.

Scientists said that if there could be one genetic benefit to being an older dad is that their next generation could have longer lifespans. This is because aging sperms have longer telomeres, which protect the DNA chromosomes from fraying, according to a study published in the PNAS journal.

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