A host of new studies are showing that just as women's eggs age, giving rise to fertility problems and birth defects, so does men's sperm. The children of older fathers scored lower on tests of intelligence, concentration, memory, and reading skills, and had lower IQs, than those of younger fathers. They also had a higher incidence of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. The author of one of the studies concluded: "It turns out that the optimal age for being a mother is the same as the optimal age for being a father."
That evens the playing field a bit. It never seemed quite fair that our biological clocks stop ticking by age 40, while geezers like Tony Randall get to play stud. In the last few years we've seen a growing number of "start-over dads," that is, older men who divorce their wives and start a second family with a new, young wife. Now that this information has emerged, 30-something women may think twice about marrying and having babies with 50-something men.