Although a woman’s fertility may naturally show a significant decline by the time she reaches her 40s, it is well known that some men are still able to embrace fatherhood well into their 60s and 70s. It is therefore no surprise that there are more older dads than older mums. However, what is it like being an older dad, and are there any specific benefits you can look forward to?
Higher Chance of a Child Genius
A study published in 2017 found that the male offspring of older fathers had higher ‘geek index’ scores. This desirable geekiness included a combination of high IQ and a strong desire to focus on their personal interests. Geek index was associated with future academic attainment and was thought to positively predict educational success.
Having children at an older age could therefore lead to a positive outcome in terms of your offspring’s socioeconomic status later in life.
Enhanced Emotional Preparedness
In 2012, a research article published in the Human Reproduction journal noted that having children later in life meant that men felt better emotionally prepared for parenthood. The average age of men taking part in the study was 43. The markers of being emotionally prepared included feeling mature, self-aware, and having more patience.
It was also noted that the men and women taking part in the study felt they had “committed co-parenting relationships and a positive overall family experience”.
Better Financial Status
Having children at a young age can be financially tough. Your career may not be off the ground yet, and it’s likely that your salary will be higher aged 40 than it is at 20.
Having children once you are older and more financially secure may take some pressure off. With the higher income associated with your professional experience, you may find it easier to fund all the baby paraphernalia, childcare costs, educational fees, and still be able to afford luxuries including vacations. Men in the Human Reproduction article felt that they were more financially sound, and could therefore contribute more to the family, work with greater flexibility, and feel more involved in raising their children.
In the Human Reproduction article, older parents reported spending their younger years traveling, living abroad, developing their career, and generally exploring life. This was thought to mitigate any regrets or frustration about feeling trapped by children. By conceiving later in life, parents felt they had already had the experiences they wanted, and so having the time to raise a child felt life a gift rather than a burden.
Your Children Might Live Longer
Although advancing age of both men and women can increase the chance of some chromosomal abnormalities, one study at Harvard University in 2012 found a genetic advantage for older dads. Researchers discovered that there could be a link between older men and chromosome changes that could increase the chance of their child having a longer life. Amazingly, this genetic advantage could last for two generations, with the potential to benefit both your child, and any potential grandchildren.
There are lots of perks to entering, or continuing, your fatherhood journey at an older age. You may feel financially and emotionally more prepared, and there may even be genetic benefits, too. Fertility starts to decline from your 50s onwards, so although it is possible to have children later in life, it may take longer to conceive or you may require fertility assistance. However, older dads have a lot to look forward to.
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