General Interests

Are Dads Getting Older?

How the age of fathers conceiving a child has changed since the 1970s.

There are millions of new births each year in the US. To get an idea of scale, in 2019 there were 3.75 million births, which represented a birth rate of 11.4 per 1,000 population.  Of these 3.75 million, about 9% of fathers are over the age of 40. This begs the question: are fathers in the US getting older?

The age at which a man conceives a child, or paternal age, is growing in the US. There are a number of reasons why men are waiting longer to have children—examples of reasons are delaying fatherhood for financial reasons or seeking out higher education.

One study published in 2017 looked at how the mean paternal age in the US has changed since 1972. They completed a retrospective data analysis analyzing data of 168.9 million live births between 1972 through 2015. The study found that the paternal age has been rising in the US since 1972. Now the birth rate is around 31 years old, and back in 1972, the average was closer to 27.

As previously mentioned, there are a number of reasons why men are having children later on in life than the previous generations. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues over the next couple of decades.

There have been various studies looking into the effect of paternal age and advanced paternal age on fertility, and there seems to be more of a spotlight on the risks of advancing paternal age in reproductive biology.

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