Genetic risks: the age of the father counts too!

Genetic risks: the age of the father counts too!

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If there is evidence that the advanced age of a pregnant woman promotes the risk of abnormalities, the age of the father is not without incidence. Late paternity can increase the risk of genetic diseases.

Mature fathers and mothers, housed in the same boat?

  • While it is recognized that the advanced age of a woman favors the risk of abnormalities such as trisomy 21, that of the father did not seem to be considered, until a very short time ago, as a factor of risk of serious illness in children. Yet, mature fathers and mothers are housed in the same boat!
  • Recent work has measured the impact of father's age on the health of the child. Statistically, late paternity increases the risk of several rare genetic diseases, such as neurofibromatosis, skin disease, or one of the forms of dwarfism, achondroplasia.
  • The work also revealed that there are four times more fathers than mothers who transmit genetic mutations, such as autism. This risk increases with age.
  • There are six times more fathers of autistic boys aged 40 than 20 years old. For the girls affected by the same affection, they are seventeen times more likely to have a father over 40 years old.

Frédérique Odasso