Six items appear below:

1    Holman        Solution to Australia's Sperm Shortage
2    Russo          Sperm of Oldies not Always Best
3    Holman        Sperm, Schizophrenia and Age
4    Russo           Schizophrenia Affects 1%
5    Holman        Older Fathers and Schizophrenia
6    Russo           Schizophrenia Disagreement



Josef Holman

(Investigator 78, 2001 May)

There have been numerous published arguments by skeptics and other members of our society that children fathered by "old" males (meaning mostly men over 50 years) may not be as bright or healthy as children produced by younger males.

Several individuals qualified in medicine, gerontologists and promoters of in vitro fertilisation (artificial insemination) claimed that "older men" have "inferior" semen and are likely to have children with some intellectual deficiency or physical defects and that fathering of children by "geriatrics" is therefore irresponsible.

In the last two decades I came across countless men older than 50 years who fathered perfectly healthy and intelligent children. This suggests that offspring of men past their 50s with child-bearing women are not in any particular danger of physical or intellectual handicap more than children fathered by younger males.

Judging by my two daughters, one of them still in Primary School and the other two years older, I am convinced that children of older men (even older than 60 years) are more intelligent, more affectionate and better looking and behaved!

As a result I have written Stay Forever Young. This I feel will answer skeptics who believe that the sperm of healthy but older men is of inferior quality leading to sickly offspring.

There is a drastic shortage of sperm in Australia. Many "older" men are willing to become sperm donors. But, most sperm banks will not accept donations from men over 40 years of age. A few years ago several of my happily married friends with young, healthy children offered their sperm to the Royal North Shore Hospital's human reproduction unit but were told the unit preferred donors to be 18 to 40 years of age.



Frank P Russo

(Investigator 79, 2001 July)

Josef Holman (#78 p.6) suggests Australia's "sperm shortage" can be solved by inviting old men to become sperm donors. Based on general observation and on the intelligence of his own daughters he says: "offspring of men past their 50s with child-bearing women are not in any particular danger of physical or intellectual handicap..."

Mr Holman's conclusion may be generally true – but we don't know for sure since it's the sort of point that requires surveys and statistical analysis for its investigation rather than general observation.

There is at least one "handicap" that's more common in children of old fathers. New Scientist magazine says: "…children fathered by men older than 50 were three times as likely to have schizophrenia as those whose fathers were aged 25 or less." (April 21 p. 23)



Josef Holman

(Investigator 80, 2001 September)

Frank P. Russo in LETTERS (No. 79 p. 4) quotes the New Scientist magazine as saying: "children fathered by men older than 50 years were three times as likely to have schizophrenia as those whose fathers were aged 25 or less".

This suggests to me that any male over 25 may produce a child with this mental disorder. It is a frightening implication as the majority of children born are fathered by males 25 years of age or older.

Schizophrenia is not a common health complaint. Far more common are respiratory problem or allergies, bone deformities and infectious diseases. In my letter on Sperm Shortage (No. 78, p. 4) I suggested that the offspring of HEALTHY men past their 50s with child-bearing women are not in any PARTICULAR danger of physical or intellectual handicap – no more than children fathered by young males of 25 to 30 – especially if they are in robust health.

In Russia and some South American countries great numbers of children are fathered by men in their 50s, 60s and even 70s! Schizophrenia is not one of the major health problems of children produced by aged fathers in those countries. Paradoxically, there seem to be more physical or mental defects in children fathered by much younger men! I have observed this in the Americas in the late 1950s.

Could it be that the MOTHERS' "unrecognised" or "hidden" unfavourable physical or intellectual handicaps contributed to incidents of schizophrenia in children fathered by some elderly men? No conclusive clinical studies have been done on the women partners of aging males whose offspring suffered, in rare cases, the curse of schizophrenia!

My previously published article on "sperm shortage" has been thoroughly researched and based on the overwhelming evidence that men in their 50s, in good health, do have as good a quality of sperm as younger men have.



Frank P Russo

(Investigator 81, 2001 November)

Mr Holman (No. 80 p. 4) is right that schizophenia in not a common health problem compared to infectious disease and respiratory problems. It can't be since schizophrenia only affects 1% of the population. New Scientist reported: "Children fathered by men older than 50 were three times as likely to have schizophrenia as those whose fathers were aged 25 or less." Mr Holman suggests his observations differ to this. However, because we're dealing with only 1% of the population, general observation would be unreliable.



Josef Holman

(Investigator 82, 2002 January)

I feel my previous article has been misconstrued - re: schizophrenia (Investigator No. 80 page 4). Mr. Frank Russo agrees with me (No. 81, page 5) but claims that schizophrenia only effects 1% of the population. Consequently, the disease cannot be but uncommon compared to infectious disease and respiratory problems.

I am not prepared to enter into any protracted argument over this view but I do find it rather irrelevant. The questionable result of one scientific research suggests that the sperm of older men (over 50) may significantly increase the risk of their children contracting schizophrenia while the mental and physical condition of the mothers who gave birth to the off-spring don't seem to have been taken into consideration. One must therefore wonder whether such a narrow study is accurate or conclusive, as it appears that only the quality of the donors' sperm has been examined and possibly the men's general health, but not the women's reproductive cells ("eggs") or embryos, or the mothers' ages, backgrounds, socio-economic status, IQs, past health problems, diseases, etc.

I spent a good number of years in New Guinea, Bougainville, South America (mostly Venezuela), post-WW II Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, USA, Cuba (before Castro), etc. I was surprised and saddened to notice how many children showed sign of some mental deficiency; neurosis, depression or ill temper and learning difficulties. Most were children of young parents (17 - 25 years old) but living in apparent poverty, one of them or both suffering health problem and lacking sufficient education. The mothers seemed to be the ones usually worse off or more incapacitated in some way (mentally or physically) than the fathers. One can draw his or her own conclusion from such observation.

I personally know, or have known, many men who fathered children in their late 50's or early 60's (I am one of them). Their children clearly seem to be somewhat "brighter" or better learners and greater "achievers", doing extremely well in school, in sports, arts, etc. when compared to many children fathered by considerably younger dads.



Frank Russo

(Investigator 83, 2002 March)

Mr Holman (#82 p.5) again rejects the finding that "…children fathered by men older than 50 were three times as likely to have schizophrenia as those whose fathers were aged 25 or less." (New Scientist April 21 2001)

Holman suggests that the original study was biased in that the wives of the old fathers are responsible for the higher rates of schizophrenia. Holman should consult the original study and confirm whether any such error was made.

Schizophrenia affects only 1% of the population and often shows up in adults not in children. Holman's general observations on children are therefore irrelevant and would be too small a number to challenge the scientific finding.

Magazine Home Page: