Last updated on January 27, 2018
A new study shows that the sperm cells of teenage boys carry 30 percent more mutations than the sperm cells of 20-year old men.
The study, which was led by Peter Forster at Britain’s University of Cambridge, analyzed the DNA of more than 24,000 parents and their children in Germany, Austria, the Middle East and Africa.
The study concluded that teens who father children are likelier to have a child with spina bifida, autism, low IQ, or schizophrenia compared to 20 to 35-year old men who father children.
During the study, the youngest mother was 10.7 years of and the oldest 52.1. The youngest father was 12.1 and the oldest, 70.1 years. Forster’s team found that the sperm cells of the teenaged fathers carried six times more mutations than the eggs of the teenage mothers.
It’s still unclear as to why these teen sperm mutations occur, however, the research team says there’s “no cause for panic.” They say overall, this increase “means that teenage fathers would expect to have two percent of their children born with defects.”
The ideal biological time to be a father “is between 20 and 35 years of age,” Forster says.