Dr. Ernest Levister
Many people think that a man’s contribution to making babies begins and ends at the moment of conception. But growing scientific evidence suggests that fathers have a greater impact on the reproduction process and on the health of their unborn babies.
It’s long been known that mothers may affect their child’s health through things like smoking or drinking alcohol, especially during pregnancy. But new research suggests that a man’s lifestyle, diet, drinking, smoking, and age may contribute to birth defects, autism, obesity, mental illnesses, and other problems in their kids.
Birth defects, childhood cancer, and miscarriages have all been linked to the health of a father's sperm. Scientists used to think that infertility, miscarriage or genetic damage to the fetus might occur only if the mother smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, took illicit or non-prescribed drugs or was exposed to toxic chemicals.
New research confirms that potential medical problems for offspring can ride sperm from the father all the way into the egg. For the sake of your future child, don't smoke. Be wary of alcohol. Eat for three: yourself, your unborn baby, and your spouse.
As many as 3 out of 4 children diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders have alcoholic fathers. Children with these disorders may have low birth weight, impaired brain development, and learning disabilities.
Age and unhealthy habits cause changes to a man’s genes. Although scientists don’t yet fully understand how it happens, these changes are then passed on to his kids — perhaps even his grandchildren. For example, a man’s obesity may affect his genes in a way that makes his children more likely to be obese.
Studies show that if your child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to your child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity.
It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of dad. For example, girls who have good relationships with their fathers tend to do better in math, and boys who have actively involved fathers tend to have better grades and perform better on achievement tests. And well-bonded boys develop securely with a stable and sustained sense of self. Who we are and who we are to be, we are becoming, and fathers are central to that outcome.