Maternal/Paternal Age

 By: Brooke Durbin & Kyra Mandas

Maternal and Paternal Age has been looked at as a cause for Autism.  It is thought that the older the mother and father are when having their baby can affect the chances of having a child with Autism.  This theory originated from the fact that fertility decreases with the increase of age.  Studies have shown that both maternal and paternal age are independently associated with Autism (2008).  A study by Durkin et al found that firstborns who had two older parents were 3 times more likely to develop autism than were third- or later-borns of mothers aged 20-34 years and fathers that were younger than 40 years of age (2008).

A study by Saha et al aggrees that older fathers could be responsible for their child having Autism.  The study found that the offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood (2009). Another study by Reichenburg tested the affect of paternal age and the rate of autism.  It showed that men over the age of 40 were more likely than men under the age of 30 to have children with ASD (2006).

A study done in the 1990s, which looked at five million births in California, instead found evidence that the age of the mother affected the likelihood of a child having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Shug, 2010). The study found that every five years after the age of thirty the risk increases 18% for a mother (Shug, 2010). In the 1990s the number of older mothers increased which could account for the increase in the number of children born with autism (Shug, 2010). This association of maternal age and autism was also confirmed in a study by Lisa Croen and associates, however they found that an increase in either the father or mother’s age lead to a higher risk of autism (Croen et. al. 2007).

Video Of the effects of Maternal Age on Autism

This youtube clip talks about women’s age and how it can be connected to autism in their children.


Croen, L. A., Najjar, D.V., Fireman, B., & Grether, J.K. (2007). Maternal and paternal age and risk of autism spectrum disorders. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescence Medicine, 161(4), 334-340. Retrieved from

Durkin, Maureen, Maenner, Matthew, Newschaffer, Craig, Lee, Li-ching, Cunniff, Christopher, Daniels, Julie, Kirby, Russell, Leavitt, Lewis, Miller, Lisa, Zahorodny, Walter, Schieve, Laura. (2008) Advanced Parental Age and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sciences and Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Reichenburg, Abraham; et al. (2006) Advancing Paternal Age and Autism. American Medical Association. Arch Gen Psychiatry.63:1026-1032.

Saha S, Barnett AG, Foldi C, Burne TH, Eyles DW, et al. (2009) Advanced Paternal Age Is Associated with Impaired Neurocognitive Outcomes during Infancy and Childhood. PLoS Med 6(3).

Shug, T. (2010, March). Researchers confirm link between maternal age and autism. Environmental Factor. Retrieved from


Mother’s Age Tied to Autism. Posted by CNN. Retrieved from

3 Responses to “Maternal/Paternal Age”

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  3. smart says:

    Dear Durbin & Mandas, I have read your research findings and congratulate your decision to contribute to the understanding of autism. however, since I want to cite your work in my litrature review i request for the date of this publication for proper citation or referencing,

    Thank you,


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