- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
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Paternal age: How does it affect a baby?
How does paternal age affect a baby's health?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Women might not be the only ones who have biological clocks. While further research is needed, studies suggest that a man's age at the time of conception — also known as his paternal age — might pose health risks for his children.
For example, studies have associated advanced paternal age with:
- Miscarriage. Some research suggests that women who become pregnant by older men are at slightly higher risk of miscarriage.
- Autism. Children born to men 40 and older seem to be more likely to develop autism than children of men younger than 30.
- Birth defects. Although the overall risk is exceedingly low, older men are more likely to father babies who have certain rare birth defects — such as the bone growth disorder achondroplasia.
- Schizophrenia. Children born to men 50 and older seem to be more likely to develop the brain disorder schizophrenia than children of men younger than 25.
- Cognitive impairment. In a 2009 study, children born to older men scored slightly lower on tests measuring concentration, memory, reading and reasoning skills through age 7.
Researchers believe that the increased risk of health conditions might be due to age-related genetic mutations in older men. Despite the increase in these risks, however, the overall risks remain small and less certain than those associated with advanced maternal age.
If you're older than 40 and you're considering fathering a baby or you're concerned about your reproductive health, consult your doctor.Next question
Pregnancy after gastric bypass: Is it safe?
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