Children of Older Dads More Likely to Die Before Age 5

Excess risk of death found among children born to fathers aged 40 or older.
Excess risk of death found among children born to fathers aged 40 or older.

Children born to fathers aged 40 years or older are at increased risk of dying before age 5 years compared with those born to younger fathers, according to the results of a Danish study published online ahead of print in Human Reproduction.

In a population-based register study of more than 1.5 million live born children from 1978 to 2004, researchers found that, compared with children born to fathers aged 30-34 years, those born to fathers aged 40-44 and 45 or older were 10% and 16% more likely to die, respectively, before age 5 years.

When only considering children aged 1-5 years, children born to fathers aged 40-44 and 45 and older had a 24% and 65% increased risk of death. “The results suggest that the elevated risk for children of fathers aged 40 years or more was primarily attributed to an elevated risk of dying from congenital malformations, malignancies and external causes,” the authors wrote.

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