Having an older father is sometimes thought of as being impractical. Aside from having generation gaps with their children, previous research has also shown that older fathers may pass along harmful mutations to their kids at conception. On the other hand, older fathers may be more mature and may have reached a more stable point in their career, allowing them to provide more time and resources for their family. Also, a new Northwestern University study has found another good thing about kids being born to an older dad: a longer life.
Conducted in the Philippines, the study found that children born to an older dad have longer telomeres—DNA found at the ends of the chromosomes. Shorter telomeres have been associated with poor health, while longer telomeres have been linked with slower aging. In addition, the length of the telomeres is cumulative and spans across generations.
"If our recent ancestors waited until later in adulthood before they reproduced, perhaps for cultural reasons, it would make sense for our bodies to prepare for something similar by investing the extra resources necessary to maintain healthy functioning at more advanced ages," says Christopher W. Kuzawa, co-author of the study, associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern, and a faculty fellow at the university's Institute for Policy Research.
While the research is good news for families with older fathers, it would still be best that you and your partner discuss family planning based on whether or not you are ready for children.
(Photo by coloniera2 via sxc.hu)