Although the biological clock is usually attributed to women, new research says men also have a perfect window of time to have kids in.
According to Georgetown University Medical Centre, dads over 40 are five times more likely to have kids with autism than dads aged 30 or younger.
But perhaps more disturbingly, the study also highlights how a father’s drinking habits can affect an unborn baby.
“Up to 75 per cent of children with FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) have biological fathers who are alcoholics,” says Joanna Kitlinska, the study’s lead investigator, adding that these children also showed a decreased brain size and significant learning disabilities.
“We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring,” said Kitlinska.
“But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers — his lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function. In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.”
The moral of the story? Have kids younger if you can, and lay off the booze.