Someone who cares about me spend a good deal of time explaining to me today that men over 50 tend to make babies with learning difficulties. Specifically, autism.
In the midst of losing my little baby bean after nine weeks of being on the wagon, perhaps they thought they were helping. Well of course they did: Like phew, dodged a bullet there! It did not help, however, instead it has made me a bit mad.
Having now had a bit of a think about it, and having found the study the subject of the revelation, I don’t think it tells us anything really. Or at least it’s tantamount to the possible false correlation that red wine reduces heart disease.
The sperm study apparently tells us that men over 45 are 3.5 times more likely to have a child with autism or ADHD. But i couldn’t find: 3.5 times more than …what? I mean what was the starting statistic…? 0.1%…?
The study also couldn’t properly account for the mothers age, nor could it eliminate any characteristics that older fathers might have that caused them to be older fathers in the first place. Maybe all these old dad dudes were blotto for the first 45 years of their life, their DNA ruined by drugs, sex and alcohol.
Having said that I did discover that the sperm lifecycle is 80 days, so any preconception cleanse has to be tortuous; and I learned not surprisingly that older men’s sperms have more genetic abnormalities. It wasn’t clear to me why, only a vague statement was available claiming something like: there’s been a high turnover. It was clear that smoking was frowned upon although if you believe the cardboard packets, even looking at a ciggie will cause you to have to cut your foot off.
In any case, writing this helped with the feelings of annoyance. People express their empathy or lack thereof in different ways. And I think two people in love with good intentions trumps bad data and good natured rumour and scaremongering. We will never understand the mysteries of the human condition with a pen and a calculator.