How old is too old to be a FATHER?
On Monday night, Global News announced a poll asking viewers at what age they think a woman is too old to become a mother.
Conspicuously absent from this discussion, it seems, is the age of the fathers-to-be. Celine's husband, Rene Angelil, is 68, to Dion's 42 years. John Travolta is 56 and Preston is 47. (Travolta and Preston suffered a terrible loss last year when their 16-year-old son died. No one could fault them for wanting to be parents once more.)
I'm just tired of the focus on maternal age. While men have famously fathered children late in life - Pablo Picasso at age 68, Pierre Trudeau at 72 - there is evidence that men's biological clocks tick, too.
While they don't go through an endocrinological menopause the way women do, men have a decline in fertility starting at age 35, according to the Mayo Clinic. While research on male infertility is far behind that of female fertility, there is - at very least - some evidence to support that a link between aging sperm and some congenital conditions, such as Dwarfism. Testicular size, sperm count and motility decrease with age.
But this isn't really about ability to get a healthy bun in the oven, whatever route is taken. It's about ability to provide for and be there for the child beyond his fifth birthday. Of course there's never any guarantee that any of us will be around for another day with our children [INSERT TIRED CLICHE ABOUT GETTING HIT BY A BUS HERE]. But when you become a new dad in your late 60s, that's pretty much a lock on "not going to be at the wedding."
In my terribly unscientific but earnestly undertaken parentcentral.ca poll, 48 per cent pegged 50 as too old to become a father, followed by 60 at 38 percent.
Men and women alike are becoming parents later in life. With the cost of raising a family, the years invested to launch a career, or the sometimes winding road to finding the right partner, it's clear that isn't going to change soon.
But maybe we could give women and their ovaries a little less of a rough ride along the way and throw a few more infertility assumption in the direction of dear old, old dad?