Infertility/ Kids/ The Male Biological Clock

Before I get to the article that discusses how the issue is with older men and not women concerning biological clocks and having kids…

I don’t really know if I want to have kids or not. I’m in my early 40s and never married.

I definitely do not want to raise someone else’s kids, which is why, if I ever get married, I do NOT want to marry a guy who has had kids with another woman. So I am talking about if I want to have my own kids or not.

Grow Tired of Hearing Infertile Women Complain and Cry About Being Infertile

I will admit to being annoyed by married women of any age who cry and moan about the fact they cannot get pregnant or cannot sustain a pregnancy.

I find the annoyance factor go up the closer that infertile woman is to my age.

I try to be sympathetic to these sorts of women, but the truth is that it is hard for me to feel sorry for “Mrs. Infertile” when she is at the very least a “Mrs.” to start with, and I cannot even get a date for Friday night.

Mrs. Infertile at least has a spouse, so please, please, Mrs. Infertile, please stop the crying and whining about not being able to have a baby! (Some of us would at least like to have a husband, never mind a baby.)

And the number of Christian magazines and TV shows, while frequently airing or printing sympathetic segments about women and infertility, rarely, rarely address the issue of Christian women (or men) over age 35 who have never been married. We exist too – how about writing sympathetic magazine articles about us?

Churches: Stop Assuming All Your New Members or Visitors Over Age 35 Are Divorced And / Or That They Have Kids

On a related note – any time I start attending a new church and tell them I’m single and need to know where their singles class room is, the person greeting me always (and this pisses me off) assumes that I’m divorced and have kids. I want to slap them every time they say, “Oh, and how many kids do you have?”

I’ve had that happen at just about every new church I’ve attended since I was 35 years old. People who greet newcomers at churches need to stop assuming all singles over the age of 35 are divorced or have kids.

Anyway, I saw this article today (from the Wall Street Journal):

What’s That Ticking Sound? The Male Biological Clock – Men are also at the mercy of age when it comes to having kids


Several months ago, my friend Anna called to complain about her boyfriend of eight months. Bombarded by media warnings about the female biological clock, he wanted to make sure that Anna was fit for childbearing before the relationship moved forward. He had taken her to a fertility clinic where a reproductive endocrinologist drew blood to check her ovarian reserve and injected radioactive iodine into her uterus to ensure that her fallopian tubes were clear.

Anna is 32. Her boyfriend is 52.

Anna’s boyfriend was right to be concerned. As women increasingly pursue careers and take advantage of fertility treatments to postpone childbirth into their 30s and 40s, they do place their offspring at risk for countless disorders and diseases. This occurs, however, not because of the woman’s age but because women in their 30s, like Anna, tend to couple off with older men. And when it comes to fathering healthy children, older men, it turns out, are just as much at the mercy of their biological clocks as women.

Older fathers made headlines several years ago when researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that a man over 40 is almost six times as likely as a man under 30 to father an autistic child. Since then, research has shown that a man’s chances of fathering offspring with schizophrenia double when he hits 40 and triple at age 50. The incidence of bipolarity, epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer also increases in children born to men approaching 40.

Both dwarfism and Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue) have been linked to older fathers, and according to research published in 1996 in the journal Nature Genetics, Apert syndrome (a disorder characterized by malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet) is a mutation caused exclusively by advanced paternal age.

….Women are born with somewhere between one million and two million eggs, 75% of which are depleted by puberty. Eggs die daily—which may sound bleak—but those that endure contain an original genetic component that was created at the very start of a woman’s life.

Sperm, by contrast, are more fly-by-night. After each ejaculation, a man regenerates millions of new sperm cells, and with each cellular replication, the chances rise of an error in genetic coding.

These “new” sperm might still be able to fertilize an egg, but they can contain dangerous mutations. “As men get older, maybe there is some sperm available, but a lot of that DNA may be abnormal,” says Harry Fisch, author of the pioneering 2004 book “The Male Biological Clock.” “After you make so many copies, the print may not be so useful.”

Data are scarce on trends in paternal age, which perhaps explains why the correlation between paternal age and birth defects went undetected for so long. And, of course, “nobody likes to think that they’re aging,” says Dr. Fisch. “Certainly men. They were on the throne, they were the kings: ‘We don’t age, we stay fertile longer than women, we can have babies into our 90s….’ Men live in denial.”

By age 40, almost 19% of American men remain unmarried, compared to 13% of women. Whether this lag in reaching the altar is a cause or an effect of skewed dating preferences, one thing is certain: Women go for older guys. According to the online dating site OKCupid, the average 35-year-old man looks for a woman between the ages of 25 and 38, whereas a 35-year-old woman will consider dating a man between the ages of 30 and 42.

But do these women know that men have their own ticking biological clock?

Celebrities like Larry King and Rod Stewart dazzle the public with their late-in-life offspring, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the occasional man in his 90s who is able to father a child. But the new research on the effects of paternal age may prompt second thoughts in 25-year-old women who would once have considered pairing off with men decades older. My friend Anna certainly had no idea that her boyfriend’s age could threaten her chances of having a healthy child.

Or perhaps the new research will encourage men to take more seriously the question of when to reproduce. “We just started doing the research,” says Dr. Fisch, whose goal is to get accurate information out there and to let men and women make informed choices. “The field is in its infancy. Actually, it’s in utero.”

Related Posts:

(Link): Men’s Fertility Fears Spawn a Mini Industry by Robbie Whelan

(Link): With Menopause Reversal, Women Could Be Forever Fertile

(Link): Miscarriages ‘Caused by Low Quality Sperm Not Health of  Mother’

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