Published: Tuesday 15 May 2001

While older women run a higher risk of having babies with birth defects, it has long been presumed the age of men does not cause the deformities. Think again. A new study, conducted by the New York School of Medicine, USA, says older fathers are more likely to have children with schizophrenia than younger ones, while the age of the mother appears to have no influence. The study showed a strong, steady increase in the risk of children being born with the disease as men aged. Men aged 45 to 49 were twice as likely to have children with schizophrenia as men under the age of 25 who became fathers, while the risk tripled for men over the age of 50.

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