Autism Research finds increased risk of autism from older fathers

by Anna
(The Special Life)

Well... Now it's not only mothers that carry an additional risk of birth defects as they get older. Men have joined this unlucky club as well.

In September 2006, research from over 100,000 fathers in Israel determined that men over 40 are almost 6 times more likely to have a child with some form of autism. And the trend gets worse for fathers over 50.

So what does this mean?

Should men stop considering having children after age 40? It's too early to say.

For starters, this is among the first studies to link paternal risk factors to autism. The sample was strictly limited to one country, and there are a number of other factors that may have come into play. And, of course, autism is such a broad spectrum of 'disability' that this finding on its own doesn't necessarily mean that life can't be relatively normal for the child born with autism.

It should perhaps though at least be taken into consideration for older would-be parents who are still in the considering stage.

My advice is to pass on the information to people in the medical community directly, in the hopes that they can monitor the research and use their best judgement as to who, when and how to let their patients know of the potential risk.

If you want to pass on the official research results, send them here for an abstract of the official findings. Then they can decide whether it is worth buying the full results.

For others, such as birth planning clinics, midwives and everyone else who may have an interest in the issue, you'll find that the article in the UK Times online edition is well written and easy to understand.

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