Do older dads really provide their kids with a longer lifespan?

Laura writes about a recent American study that suggests late-fatherhood could actually benefit their offspring.

By Laura Grande
Do older dads really provide their kids with a longer lifespan?

Photo by skodonnell/

Will children who have older fathers live longer? According to a recent American study, the answer is a resounding yes.

I don't know about you, but I usually shrug off the endless stream of studies that are published almost daily. They'll say one thing, while being completely contradicted by another similar study.

However, this one really caught my eye. Now, I'm not a mom ...yet. I definitely have that maternal yearning and I look forward to the day when I do finally become a parent. However, it likely won't be happening in the immediate future and, as a result, this study speaks directly to both myself and other people of my generation — those of us who want to be parents but haven't started a family yet. I will wind up being an "older" parent, no matter how I look at it and, considering most studies involving "older" parents carry negative connotations, it was a bit of a breath of fresh air to read about this recent piece of research — whether it turns out to be entirely accurate or not.

Through research funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University, they've found that men who have kids between their late-30s and early-50s ultimately provide their children with a longer lifespan. And how, you ask? Apparently, children of older fathers inherit longer telomeres — "caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect them from degeneration", according to an article on the study from the Toronto Star. Telomeres found in sperm, in particular, lengthen with age — which the father then passes on to the child.

Despite the fact that many questions are left unanswered (does this apply to all men and does a person's overall health have an impact the outcome?) it's still an interesting study, whether you buy it or not.

What do you think? Do you know anyone who became a first-time father late in life?

This article was originally published on Jun 15, 2012

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