Monday, May 28, 2007


We initially examined the relationship between paternal age and the risk for schizophrenia because it is well established that paternal age is the major source of de novo mutations in the human population, and most schizophrenia cases have no family history of psychosis.

The latest finding, published last month: Older fathers are more likely to have children with autism. Researchers tracked 387,000 people born in Israel and concluded the odds of fathering an autistic child are about 6 in 1,000 for men under 20. When a man reaches 50, those odds shoot up to about 52 in 1,000.

"The optimal time for a man to father a healthy child is the same as for a woman — 25 or so," says Dolores Malaspina, a psychiatry professor at New York University and coauthor of the study.

Sporadic type 1 diabetes, prostate cancers, Alzheimer's disease, ALL, MS, nervous system cancers,autism, schizophrenia,etc. etc. all rise with the age of the father at conception.

Biological Clock Ticks for Men, Too
Genetic Defects Linked to Sperm of Older Fathers
Paul D. Thacker

lawmummylike Donna Reed, Martha Stewart and Sandra Day O'Connor all rolled into one. Only not on TV. Or on the Supreme Court. Or with cute crinoline dresses... But a mom. And an attorney. And in apparent need of therapy.« Life's Too Short. | Main | For Richer, For Poorer? »

25 May 2007
Don't Get a Dog, Get a Baby Instead.
Ahh, the words of someone clearly ready to be a mother

Lest you think it's some young kid, let me set you straight: those are the words of 60 year old Frieda Birnbaum, a psychologist from Saddle River, New Jersey. She just delivered her fourth and fifth children (twins) in Hackensack this week. That's right, twins, at 60.

She had them deliberately - through in vitro fertilization. Because of her age, no US clinic would agree to treat her, so flying in the face of both medical science and common sense, she went to a clinic in South Africa that will apparently do anything for a dollar.

I've been critical of much older parents like Frieda before - I think it's selfish and unfair to the children - but this time around, I thought I'd make an effort to listen and find out whether there was some reason that Ms. Birnbaum had that would make it all okay. Years of trying to having a baby and couldn't? Previously in a bad relationship? Not financially secure? Nope on all counts. Frieda has a good life, financially, has been married to the same man for more than 30 years and has three other children ranging in age from 6 to 31.

And what do her other children think of this? Her 29 year old daughter is "appalled" and well she should be. Frieda described her relationship with her daughter on CNN as "basically, she thinks I'm crazy." Well, good. That makes two of us.

Her reasons for having these babies this late in life sounded flip and contrite. She cited that holding babies was "peaceful" (um, for about 10 minutes, lady, didn't you do this once or twice before?) and made her feel "whole". She wanted a playmate for her younger son, she said (right, since 6 year olds sooo enjoy sharing 60 year old mom with babies) - apparently the kids at the park must shun her child if she can't find a playmate within her own community.

But my favorite reason for having the babies? "Don't get a dog, get a baby instead." I swear I'm not making this up.


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