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Misconception: The Biological Clock is Just for Girls

FACT: Wrong-o, daddy-o. Guys should be keeping an eye on the biological clock, too. Consider the facts from several recent studies for yourself: A study reported in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility reported that women age 35 with partners age 45 and older took five times longer to conceive than those whose partners were age 25 or younger.

The same was true with younger women: Women age 25 and under whose partners were age 45 or older took four times longer to conceive than those with younger partners (under 25).

Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York found that women with partners aged 35 or older had nearly three times as many miscarriages as compared with women conceiving with men younger than 25 years of age. And a series of studies conducted in Britain, the U.S., and Sweden concluded that children born to older fathers face an increased risk of autism, schizophrenia, dwarfism, Down syndrome, and multiple genetic and chromosomal problems.

“There still needs to be more research done on the effects of paternal age on fertility rates, miscarriage rates, and birth defects, but it appears there may be reason to be concerned," says Daniel E. Stein, M.D., of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at St. Luke's-Roosevelt, and an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

The takeaway message seems clear: Father Time may be more forgiving of dads than of moms, but even he has his limits. So if having a baby is important to you and your partner, keep an eye on both your clocks.