The Truth About the Biological Clock

by Ann Douglas

The biological clock is just for girls.
Guys don't have to worry about getting older.

Wrong-o, daddy-o.
Guys should be keeping an eye on the biological clock.
Consider the facts for yourself.


A study reported in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility reported that women age 35 with partners age 45 and older took five times longer to conceive than those whose partners were age 25 or younger; and that women age 25 and under with partners age 45 and older took four times longer to conceive than those with younger partners (under 25). Researchers at the Columbia University School of Public Health found that the miscarriage risk is 60 percent greater for a woman conceiving with a partner age 40 or older as compared to a woman conceiving with a partner under the age of 25, regardless of her own age. And a series of studies conducted in Britain, the U.S., and Sweden have concluded that children born to older fathers face an increased risk of autism, schizophrenia, dwarfism, Down syndrome, and multiple genetic and chromosomal problems.

"There still needs to be more research done on the effects of paternal age on fertility rates, miscarriage rates, and birth defects, but it appears there is reason to be concerned," says Daniel E. Stein, MD, a faculty member of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at St. Luke's-Roosevelt and an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The takeaway message seems clear: Father Time may be forgiving of dads than of moms, but even he has his limits. So if having a baby is important to you and your partner, keep an eye on both your clocks.

Ann Douglas is the author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and numerous other books about pregnancy and parenting.