Advanced Paternal Age (APA)
Definition - What does Advanced Paternal Age (APA) mean?
Advanced paternal age (APA) most commonly refers to a man who is 40 years or older at the time of conception. As a man's age increases, the risk of him passing on certain genetic mutations increases. This can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, autism, and certain psychiatric disorders.
FertilitySmarts explains Advanced Paternal Age (APA)
There is no universally accepted definition for an age at which a man becomes old. However, advanced paternal age is often defined as 40 years and older.
Studies have found that there may be a linear correlation between advanced paternal age and the risk of autism and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. This means that as the age of the father increases there is an increased risk that his child will develop these disorders. However, no evidence has found that there is a dramatic difference specifically after the age of 40. Studies have also found that as paternal age increases, the risk of miscarriage increases.
The reason for these increases may be related to genetic mutations in a man's sperm as he ages. Women are born with all their eggs that will ever mature and be released during ovulation. However, men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives. This sperm is produced by cell division and copying of genetic code. With each new division, there is a chance that there could be an error in the copying of this genetic code, leading to mutations in the sperm. Therefore, the older a man is, the more this code has been copied, and the higher the chance of mutations. These mutations are passed down to the man's child and may have a negative impact on his or her health.