Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Father's Age Effecting Children's Genetics

After reading this article on Genetic damage and a Father's Age It was not surprising to me that scientific research is finding out that as men age there is a higher rate of mutation in their sperm. Since men produce large amounts of sperm and women produce minimal amounts of eggs as compared it was also not surprising that men have a higher mutation rate then women. And when we think about the fact that as women age they are more likely to pass on mutations to their children as they age, (for example: Downs syndrome), then it should not seem unreasonable that men also have an increase in mutations that they can pass on to their children as they age.  However I do not know that there is that much of a difference in older mens' offspring that would be noticeable, because the article states that only 10% of the mutations are damaging. So will it really make that much of a difference?
In our society today the average age of people having children is increasing; according to the article the average age of fathers at conception is now 33 whereas in 1980 it used to be 28. I do not believe that the information portrayed in this article is likely to stop men from having children when they are older, if they want them.
The article also mentions women having their eggs frozen for later viability use; then mentions the future possibility if men having their sperm frozen for use to have children later in life.  I do not think that this is something we will be seeing in the future. What do you think?
Tonya Sulham (3)


  1. I think it is very viable possibility, better safe than sorry. Also it is harder to make an argument that this has as sinister a connotation as eugenics because they are you're unaffected sperm, just frozen. These reasons leave me assuming this could work as a way to make money. I think that if who ever wants to sell it can get people paranoid enough, they will pay to have their sperm frozen for later.
    Hunter Alexander (1)

  2. This is interesting, it reminded me of something I learned in Evolution last semester about mutations when it came to eggs and sperm. It said that the more menstrual periods a woman has per year, the more likely they are of having ovarian cancer, because their cells keep dividing and with so many divisions, like you said there are bound to have mutations happen.

    Cynthia Bui (1)

  3. The possibility of men freezing their sperm is one step in the direction of genetically engineering our kids. However, on the other hand, it can be seen as a way of reducing the risk of our kids from having to suffer from diseases. Yet on another note, abstaining from freezing sperm could lead to faster rates of selection and thus faster rates of humans becoming a more fit species.

    Marshall Moini (2)

  4. When a woman chooses to have children later in life, she is more at risk to have a child with a disorder because the eggs she has are as old as she is. So, the longer she waits, the more the eggs degrade. Although sperm are produced regularly, and therefore not subject to the same type of degradation, the age of the man can contribute to the quality of the sperm. Because of this, I do not think freezing sperm is any more ludicrous than freezing eggs. As many people are waiting until they are older to have children, this could be a helpful step to ensure health of their future children.

    -Ashley Sterpka (1)

  5. I think if more people knew how older age could lead to a higher mutation rate then I think concerned people would definitely consider freezing their sperm. Especially as people these days have busier lives and decide to wait to have kids, freezing sperm could definitely lead to children with less deleterious mutations.

    Posted by Poya Jafari (2)