Paternal age and mental health of offspring

Dolores Malaspina, Caitlin Gilman, Thorsten Manfred Kranz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The influence of paternal age on the risk for sporadic forms of Mendelian disorders is well known, but a burgeoning recent literature demonstrates, in addition, a paternal age effect for complex neuropsychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, and even for learning potential, expressed as intelligence. Mental illness is costly to patients, their family, and the public health system, accounting for the largest portion of disability costs in our economy. The delayed onset of neuropsychiatric conditions and lack of physical manifestations at birth are common frequencies in the population that have obscured the recognition that a portion of the risks for mental conditions is associated with paternal age. Identification of these risk pathways may be leveraged for knowledge about mental function and for future screening tests. However, only a small minority of at-risk offspring are likely to have such a psychiatric or learning disorder attributable to paternal age, including the children of older fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1396
Number of pages5
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Paternal age
  • autism
  • mutation
  • psychiatric
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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