My mother is 95 years old. When she was born, her father was 70 years and her mother was just a teenage girl. My mother gave birth to ten surviving offspring at home. They are all living lives with full dynamism, with their own command over resources. Many similar cases of age difference in marriage and types of families may be there in Nepal for those who care to find out and write about.
In many parts of the world, mainly in the economically developed world, marrying in the late thirties and forties is found to be common. Recently, in Hisar-Punjab of India, a 70-year-old wife and 75-year-old husband became parents with the help of IVT.
They said their happiness knew no bounds on having had the dream come true with their own baby. Being parents as well as to be parents is a time of high importance in everyone’s life. This is a real test of manhood and womanhood — the opportunity to create a person, in reality, is godly.
Recreation is important in the living world not only for humans but also for other animals in the world. Togetherness of the male and female kinds is the beauty of life. It is the beginning of the extension of the hereditary tree line. We are here in a period of time and place and the line will continue in the future as usual. In the absence of the continuity of creation, we can’t imagine the living world.
But some recent scientific studies on the parenthood and age of fathers have sent some alarm bells ringing. They hint that the children of older fathers, above 50 years, are most likely to suffer from birth defects, autism or schizophrenia. Such fathers may also be the cause of metabolic changes in their children, changes linked to diabetes and cancer as well.
Dr. Joanna Kitlinska, of Georgetown University, Medical Center, Washington, has explored the linkages of the father and mother’s nutrition, and hormonal and physiological environments to their kids. From the mother’s side, effects might be in organ structures, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring. Father’s lifestyle and age reflect in molecules that control gene functions. Father affects not only his immediate offspring but the future generations as well.
American Journal of Stem cells states that children of men over 40 years are almost six times as likely to develop defects and down’s syndrome, which is a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features. Alcoholic persons might have their DNA sperm count affected. In her research, Dr. Kitlinska found up to 75 per cent of children of alcoholic fathers with foetal alcoholic syndrome.
Further, a low protein diet in mothers leads to obesity in children. Whereas, a low calorie diet of fathers, even in their childhood, protects the children from obesity. The obese father passes on marks on genes that could lead to the enlargement of fat cells in regulation of metabolism. Early and pre-conception health conditions of fathers and mothers seem to be the determining factors for conditions of children’s health when they grow up.
It has also been seen that old fathers have created healthy children. Yet the several research studies have shown fathering after 40 years and in old age is not favourable for the next generation’s health. In real world, there are many people who plan fathering after 40 years or continue to have other children.
These studies may need a wider base for generalizing to the Asian context. Moreover, every individual will have personal choices or circumstances to plan for kids. Even so, it will be worth considering the points made by the recent researchers. In many Asian circumstances, having kids might be incidental rather than being a well planned activity. However, it is always a good idea if people, whether Asian, European or American, plan to have children who will be healthy by all odds.