Is the age of fathers a significant factor in determining the cause of Autism? A study published this week in Nature points to research evidence that suggests that genetic mutations in sperm, more so than in the egg are responsible for developmental abnormalities.
This new piece of the puzzle, garnered through research on seventy-eight nuclear families in Iceland, is especially interesting in light of sociological and demographic trends in which more parents, both mothers and fathers are waiting longer to have children. It should be considered in tandem with other studies that point to the social-emotional benefits of older parents including greater emotional and financial stability.
Max Davies, and english pediatrician cautions that "The reason for being so fussy about this is that anything that suggests that even part of the causation of autism might have been to do with parents' choices is the hottest of hot potatoes. The guilt for parents can be unbearable, so we need to be very careful before we start throwing advice around."