Thursday

senile babydaddies?

People talk a lot about older women having babies these days, but you don't hear as much about the super-elderly fellas who are spreadin' the love around.

This is AN INTERESTING NYT ARTICLE about "start over dads," guys who have second families in their 60s and 70s.

How old is too old to become a father? Do you place any stock in the emerging research showing that "old" sperm can cause problems like miscarriage and autism? Do women take an unfair amount of flack over waiting 'til later in life to become mothers, while men are given a free pass?

6 comments:

Katharine said...

Well, sure, women get most of the flack. But I remember reading at least one report of a medical study indicating that defective sperm from older fathers is one of the likely causes of schizophrenia.

Anonymous said...

No offense but I seriously can't stand hearing the ghetto-sounding term "babydaddy" coming from anyones mouth.(especially an educated white womans)It sounds so vile.Maybe I am just getting old...

britney said...

(In parentheses since this is off topic: Why does "babydaddy" sound vile to you..because it's associated with a "ghetto" culture different from your own? Here's an interesting article on the history of the term:
http://www.slate.com/id/2141083/)

Leslie said...

Historically, culturally, biologically, youth and health are more important for the females of the species, while the ability to provide (which for most men improves with age) is more important for the males. Additionally, women of advanced ages have to resort to artificial aids to conception while men are biologically able to father children naturally at advanced ages. I think these are some of the factors that influence the different ways late parenthood is perceived for each gender.

What do I think? I don't think women who are too old to conceive naturally should be resorting to donor eggs or donor wombs to get pregnant. For men, I'd say it depends on how old he is and how healthy. A fifty year old athletic guy with a younger wife might make a great dad. He's as likely to be around 30 more years as not. A seventy year old guy in poor health? Not such a good idea.

As far as the defective sperm theory, I'd want to see more studies on that and I'd want to know the prevalence. We already know that older mothers are more likely to have babies with various disorders, Down Syndrome being the most well-known, but we don't say they shouldn't have babies because of the increased odds of defects.

dewi said...

More important is what do the children of these old men feel about having a father that is a different generation then most of there friends father? I believe that the huge generational difference is not a good thing for kids. Most of these old men having babies are usually powerful and wealthy and usually have very young wives who never had children before.

From my experience, the kids don't like it! My father-in-law was an old man when my husband was growing up. My husband thought it sucked and the generational difference was embarrassing since his dad was the age of most kid's grandfather.

My daughter's best friend's father is an old man (he is "youthful" however, he is now in his early 80's) the kid is 20. He is a famous filmmaker and this is his third marriage to a young women. He has other children that are almost 60 years old. I know this girl is not comfortable with her father's age and she has talked about her concern for his health in a way that is not typical of 20 year olds.

Anonymous said...

I say it's weird and vain, and they should come in for at least as much criticism. I'm glad I'll be done with the high-duty parenting before i'm 50.

By the way, it's flak, not flack. Flak is a military term for stuff that comes out of a bomb _ that's why it's called a flak jacket.