Dr. Parviz Kavoussi was recently interviewed live on NBC’s KXAN network regarding a recently published study evaluating outcomes of neonates and mothers when the male partner was considered to be in an advanced paternal age range at the time of conception. This study looked at a birth registry which included over 40 million documented births in the United States between 2007 and 2016, 9% of which were to fathers over the age of 40. The study found that offspring of fathers greater than 45 years of age had an association with a 14% higher incidence of premature births and lower birth weights (albeit a 0.7 oz difference). APGAR scores are assessments of the health of the baby at birth. This study reported lower APGAR scores in babies of fathers greater than 55 years of age. There was also a higher incidence of the neonates having to be admitted to the neonatal ICU when the father’s age was greater than 55. The study also found that there was a 28% higher incidence of the mothers developing gestational diabetes with advanced paternal age, and there was no difference in preeclampsia or eclampsia rates based on paternal age.
“Although the authors of the study did the best job possible adjusting for risks like fathers that were smokers and maternal age, this database did not allow them to account for other variables that may have impacted these outcomes, such as were these men with more advanced paternal ages severely obese, polysubstance abusers, men with high alcohol intake at the time of conception, had they had chemotherapy or radiation, or did they have varicoceles (abnormally dilated veins around the testicle) which are know to impact the DNA health of the sperm”, states Dr. Kavoussi.
Per this study, ultimately, the overall risk of these outcomes is relatively low, but further research is necessary from a public health standpoint as paternal age seems to be trending upwards in the US.