Can fatherhood wait?
Delaying fatherhood until your 60s may be possible, but is it advisable?
I had a misconception that as a man I had the freedom to have a baby at any age, even after 60. (A close relative who had a child in his late 60s served to cemented my delusion) The men I associate with also seem to assume that their fertility is constant through out most of their lives. Such comments are common, ‘There’s no need for a man to rush into marriage. Any time is teatime.’

Men with such a mentality assume that it’s women who should worry about their age affecting their fertility. A little digging into research findings, however, is sure to knock reluctant men off their fertility pedestal.

Dr Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield explains on Skynews that a few years ago a study revealed that a 40-year-old male has a 50% less chance of fathering a child than a 25-year-old male.

Other research shows that after the age of 35 men face a drop in fertility. An infertility study of more than 12 000 couples in Paris revealed that a man’s age affects conception. The study claims that when a prospective father is in his mid 30s, miscarriage rates rise to 19.5%. This shoots to over 32% for men over 40.

Although some men are fertile well into their old age, they still have problems to contend with, as Dr Jacques Mouzon of the French National Institute for Medical Research, explains: ‘People say men are fertile into old age, 90 even. That may be true sometimes, but the product is different and there are more semen abnormalities as age advances.’

Is it not ironic though that the best time for us to have children biologically is not necessarily the best time socially. In my world, most men in their mid twenties are still in a period of self-discovery- both emotionally and career wise and most of them are ill prepared to be anybody’s father. I sometimes wonder if we’ve not become a generation of late bloomers, scared of parenthood and the responsibilities that it brings?

In the United Kingdom, the average age for fathering a first child has risen to 32 . I guess that a person might have valid reasons for delay to have a baby such as to find a suitable marriage mate or furthering one’s career in the hope for providing well for future children.

No wonder prospective grandmas and granddads have always hammered into their procrastinating adult children’s heads (male and female): do not wait too long to have a baby because your biological clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Do you think the generation now is scared of parenthood and the responsibilities that it brings?

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