When it comes to having babies, men have more than one advantage. Firstly, the women have to pop the suckers out. Secondly, guys seem to be able to embrace fatherhood at whatever time they like. As Meg Ryan famously blubbered in When Harry Met Sally: "Charlie Chaplin had babies when he was 72!" For a woman whose window of fertility is inching shut, it can be frustrating when the fellas just want to take their sweet old time about it. A new study won't help that unfortunately.
This study suggests that men who wait until after their late 30s to become a father pass along a longer life to their kids. And this isn't because younger dads are more likely to do something to prematurely end the life of said child. Nope. It's because dads of a certain age might pass along something called "longer telomeres," which can help contribute to a longer lifespan.
Scientists think that this is something that just happened over the past few generations -- that the telomeres adapted for fathers having kids when they were older as a way of preparing the coming generations to also be able to have kids older. Like these telomeres are in cahoots with men who don't want to settle down!
But, hey, if a few generations of older dads resulted in super telomeres giving their offspring a longer life, wouldn't this adaptive process mean that older women's bodies would also adapt? And that maybe fertility would be more possible for older women than it would have been a few generations ago? I don't know about you, but it seems pretty much every mom I know now had their baby after 35, and all of them say they did it naturally.
It's not all good news for older dads though: Recent research also suggests that older dads are more likely to have children with autism.
I live in a city where men routinely wait until they are 40 or 50 before wanting to have kids, while the women in their 30s or 40s are impatiently tapping their feet, so I'm behind anything that might make a man want to settle down more quickly. Unfortunately, this latest study on lifespan might not help with that, but we'll see what study comes out next week!
What do you think about older dads?
Image via Merfam/Flickr