Speaking as one who has produced two small boys with a man heading, now, towards his mid- century, I have to say that, when it comes to older dads, what's not to like?
Of course, there is the small issue that they might pop their clogs, end up in a dementia home, or some other such fate just when their grown-up child is pitching up at the door, asking: "Any chance of a hand with the babysitting?" But older dads, unlike older mums (of whom I am one) who might easily be accused of risking both their child's and their own health by embarking on the high-risk sport of birth, seem to have all of the pluses, combined with a few, admittedly significant, minuses.
Having dated a man my own age for 13 big years before I met my current husband, and gone through the emotional rollercoaster of wondering whether there was even a glimmer of hope of him being mature enough for fatherdom before my own eggs had withered, it seems to me older is where it's at. So, it's good to hear that on top of the more regularly cited wonders of an older male – that he will often have more time for the children, more patience, and possibly, less tendency to go on an all-night alcoholic bender – there is, it seems, some scientifically-proven health advantage. Researchers have shown that children with older fathers and grandfathers live longer.
It turns out that, as a man ages, the genetic make-up of the sperm changes and develops a kind of vintage, matured DNA code that favours a longer life. This all takes place within what are known as the telomeres, lengths of DNA that sit at the end of our chromosomes. The longer telomeres are, the older you are likely to live, and in sperm, these lengthen as a man ages.
More like a fine wine than an olive oil then, dads are better nicely aged than "extra virgin".
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