We’re all familiar with the proverbial ‘biological clock’ that relentlessly taunts childless women reminding them that their time is running out. It’s one of the reasons that women get serious about getting married and starting a family (or just starting a family) at a younger age than do men. Some recent research however has highlighted that men don’t exactly enjoy indefinite virility either.
Men reach their fertile prime in their early twenties. After this, sperm count declines slowly to age 45 after which it falls more rapidly. While technically, some men can conceive children into their old age, the reality is that this is very uncommon. In addition to the decline in the quantity of sperm, the quality of sperm also diminishes with increasing age. Recent studies of children conceived by fathers over the age of 30 have been found to be at higher risk of Autism, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. They are also are associated with lower IQs.
The effect is slight for men in their late 30s and becomes more significant at older ages*. Clearly, neither men nor women are spared the ticking of their biological clocks. It’s another good reason to question the cultural wisdom of delayed marriage. Maybe its time to stop and rethink: why are we waiting longer only to make it harder?
Being married and having children in one’s twenties is now met with negative social pressures…but has anyone stopped to ask: what is the advantage of waiting? Life is full of trade-offs and waiting to have children comes with trade-offs just like everything else. So if you’re ‘single and in love’, and marriage and family is part of your long term plan for your life; ask yourself…what are you waiting for?