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Fathers or grandfathers: why men 70+ decide on fatherhood and what are the risks



That leads couples who decide to give birth to a child when his father is more likely to be grandfathers in age; what they face on the way to happy parenting, says

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When a man, whose peers are raising grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren, has a small child, it is difficult for society to react calmly: each such case invariably attracts attention. Fathers at the age of Methuselah are outraged and admired, their partners are criticized and approved, the future fate of the baby seems to many to be sadly predictable. However, men after 70 continue to acquire offspring, using the possibilities of modern reproductive technologies to the fullest, and the state acquired by this age, and, of course, their own, of course, huge life experience.

On the day of his 75th birthday, Yevgeny Petrosyan became the hero of the hottest headlines in the press: it seems that in his entire long creative life, the comedian did not receive such attention. A solid date is, of course, an iron excuse to remember the merits of the birthday man, but this time everyone was attracted by another reason - a small, pretty and chubby one.

Petrosyan presented his son of Vagan, born in the marriage of a showman with 31-year-old Tatyana Brukhunova. Now the crumb is about six months old - it's difficult to say more precisely, because the couple is extremely sparingly sharing the details of an important event. Several months of a wife carefully concealed son.

Yevgeny Petrosyan is married for the fifth time, and, to put it mildly, few expected a mature man to become a father again.

The only daughter of a humorist, Viktorina, is 52 years old, she is Petrosyan's daughter from the tragically deceased first wife. In other marriages, Evgeny Vaganovich did not acquire offspring. Quiz has two adult sons, one of whom became a parent this year. It turns out that Petrosyan's great-grandson and son are the same age!

The fans of the couple have a huge number of questions, which the Petrosyan-Brukhunova tandem is in no hurry to answer. First, of course, everyone is concerned about the extent to which the couple took advantage of the achievements of reproductive medicine. In early spring, the couple left for the United Arab Emirates, and the media suggested that it was there that Vagan's parents waited for his birth from a surrogate mother.

However, Tatyana Brukhunova made it clear that carried the baby on her own... Now the young woman has devoted herself to motherhood and does not even rule out that Vagan will have a sister. “Everything is God's will,” Tatiana wisely remarks.

Unfortunately, the spouses do not say anything at all about how the life and care of the baby in their unusual family is built. And this information could be an inspiration and help for other couples with a serious age difference. After all, Petrosyan's situation is not at all isolated - there are young and older fathers.

"We will give more in a few years than many in a lifetime"

Before the news of the birth of Vagan Petrosyan, we were all happy for Emmanuil Vitorgan - last year, shortly before his 80th birthday, he became the father of the girl Clara... This is the fourth child of the actor and his second little daughter: for the first time Vitorgan and his currently 58-year-old wife Irina Mlodik became parents in 2018, they had a baby Ethel. By the time the babies were born, Vitorgan raised two children - 54-year-old Ksenia and 48-year-old Maxim, and became a grandfather three times... Irina had no children before her marriage to the actor.

Vitorgan and Mlodik willingly share photos with children and talk about life with them.
The nannies help the famous couple in raising the babies, but the spouses do not overestimate the participation of outsiders in family affairs - they are sure that they are sufficiently involved in parenting and during the years of their late motherhood and fatherhood they will have time to give their daughters more than some parents in their entire lives.

Irina Mlodik claims that she carried and gave birth to Ethel on her own; There is no unambiguous data on the birth of Klara.

Of course, "late" babies in Russia appear not only with famous parents. One of the most famous "adult" fathers in our country, of course, can be called the front-line soldier Armais Nazarov from Armavir - at the age of 87 he became the father of baby Artyom. His mother Eugenia was 34 years old at that time, she raised two children from another man. Soon after the birth of Artyom, the woman was left a widow, the veteran had a whole bunch of diseases, before which medicine was powerless. The fate of the "late flower of life" is unenviable: his mother washed down, was deprived of parental rights, and he ended up in a foster family.

On the departing train?

Officially, the Indian Ramjit Rajav is considered the oldest father of our time - in this capacity he was recorded in 2010 in the Guinness Book of Records. Ramjit's life was bizarre, and ultimately tragic: due to poverty, a resident of New Delhi got married at almost 70 years old, and first became a father at 94 years old (his wife at that time was 54).

Two years later, the Indian had a second son, but soon the man lost his fragile family happiness - the eldest son disappeared without a trace, and his wife took the younger one and disappeared in an unknown direction.

In February 2020, information appeared that the 104-year-old father at that time, the record-holder, died - and not because of old age, but because of the consequences of a fire caused by smoking in bed.

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Such mature parenting is certainly an outstanding case, but in a number of countries in South Asia and the Middle East, the age range of parenting is significantly different from what we are used to. There are typical situations when men from sixty and older find themselves in the marriage and reproductive "market". In his prime!

The appearance of a baby in a man who would be sent to a well-deserved rest in Russia with honors is considered a matter of prestige, an indicator of his "strength" and is generally recommended as a kind of rejuvenating procedure. It is another matter that very young women are often used as “incubators” for such unions, and often in no way coordinating with their will, but this is a completely different story.

Given the mistakes of youth

And in cultures more understandable to us, cases of extreme late parenting abound. For example, twice Oscar-winning actor Anthony Quinn gave birth to a total of 12 children, and the youngest son and daughter were born when Quinn was 78 and 81 years old, respectively.

The babies were given birth by the actor's secretary Katherine Benwynn, who was almost 50 years younger than her boss (and later her husband). She loved him very much and, of course, became a mother completely voluntarily.

Nobel and Pulitzer Prize laureate Saul Bellow fathered his only adored daughter by his fifth wife, Janice Friedman, at 84. By that time, Bellow had three grown sons from different women and seven grandchildren, but he did not really have time to be a father and a husband, because it greatly interfered with his work.

It is known that his older children never stayed with their father longer than the weekend. The birth of Naomi Rose allowed the legend of world literature to compensate for the losses a little and experience the joys of parenting, but not for long: Bellow died when the girl was 5, and her mother was 46 years old.

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But the singer Julio Iglesias at the age of 59 became not a father, but an older brother. His father, Julio Iglesias Puga, at the age of 88, welcomed the baby to 40-year-old Ronna Keith.

Papuchi, as the Spanish patriarch of the Iglesias family was affectionately called, died at the age of 90, when Ronna was five months pregnant with their second child.

Iglesias, the eldest, worked for many years as a gynecologist in a large Madrid clinic and helped a huge number of couples faced with infertility to become parents. His younger children were also conceived with the help of auxiliary medical methods.

The case of rock and roll legend Mick Jagger against this solid background, we admit, fades somewhat - at 73, Jagger became a father for the eighth time, this happened in 2017. The musician's friend, 29-year-old ballerina Melanie Hemrik at that time, gave birth to a boy. However, Jagger's liveliness does not match his passport age so much that we will not be surprised if he breaks the records of age parenting more than once - and without the help of modern technology.

"There are more risks than is commonly believed": the opinion of a reproductologist

“The highest risk of pregnancy from a 70+ partner is miscarriage, and so-called recurrent miscarriage often occurs when pregnancy is lost two or more times in a row,” said Ekaterina Ozhogina, a gynecologist-reproductologist.

This is due to the natural decline in testosterone levels that occurs in men with age, sperm degradation and deterioration in sperm quality. Such processes can cause a change in the molecular chain of sperm DNA, resulting in increased DNA fragmentation. Such spermatozoa often successfully fertilize the egg, but in the early stages of embryo development (blastocyst formation and implantation into the endometrium), the process can stop both during natural conception and in IVF and ICSI protocols.

In addition, in such cases, there is an increased risk of congenital malformations of the fetus. The scientific journal Maturitas has published a study on the effect of parental age on fertility, pregnancy and children's health. A study conducted by scientists at Rutgers University showed that children born to older fathers may have lower Apgar scores, while their risks of developing congenital defects, including heart disease, are higher. As they get older, they also have an increased risk of developing cancer, mental and cognitive disorders.

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It is generally accepted that a man can conceive a child at any age, and this is partly true, however, according to clinical guidelines, a decrease in fertility in men begins after 35 years. Aging of the male reproductive system is associated with a decrease in ejaculate volume, deterioration in sperm counts, and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.

But still, medicine has not determined any specific age threshold of paternity for men, a comprehensive assessment of the couple's fertility is needed, and to reduce the risks for offspring, it is possible to recommend assisted reproductive technologies, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis of embryos.

“Therefore, I recommend that men who plan to postpone paternity consider the possibility of sperm cryopreservation at a younger age,” our expert clarified.

"The desire to live parenting differently can be very strong": the psychologist-sexologist argues

“Not a single couple, even if there is a certain similarity of parameters, is not like another, therefore in any union there are their own reasons why people want to have a child, despite the big difference in years. The simplest answer is love, because it is love that makes life go on in the truest sense of the word. And love is such a thing that exists without regard for the difference in age, ”recalls Ekaterina Antropova, psychologist, sexologist, body-oriented therapist.

If we are not talking about her, then there may be other reasons. For example, an irresistible sexual addiction to partners much older than himself, when a person is not attracted to peers, but people older than 50 are interesting. Then we are talking about gerontophilia, but it should be borne in mind that the difference should be very large and the difference between partners in 20-30 years does not fit into the framework of gerontophilia.

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Another possible reason is a woman's desire to have a more mature partner next to her, who will definitely be happy with the child and who has something to share with him, and this is not only and not so much about material benefits (although they should not be discounted), but and about wisdom, life experience.

If we talk about men in a very mature age who want to go through the experience of fatherhood, then there may be various reasons. One of them, for example, lies in the fact that a person begins to feel more clearly that life is ending, because he wants to last in children. And the other is that in the second half of life, people in relationships often tend not only to take, but also to give - especially to children. But children born in youth have already grown up, and caring for grandchildren can not always satisfy this need.

“In addition, the desire to live parenting in a different way, more consciously and without making the mistakes that were made once, can play a role,” the specialist believes.

"Our task is to make life comfortable for even the most unusual couples": the conclusion of the gerontologist

“Age should not be a discriminatory factor in any of the issues of human life. Gender, orientation, skin color, nationality are not restrictions. And the task of gerontology as a philosophy and science is to make a person functional at any age, and so that he can perform tasks that he wants to perform or that society imposes on him, " non-profit organization "Research Medical Center" Gerontology ".

In recent decades, stereotypes about what is right and what is wrong have changed. Ideas about family and partnership are changing. We can accept it or not accept it, condemn it or not condemn it, but we must not oppose these changes, but make the life of people who choose one or another scenario for building a family comfortable.

Therefore, we cannot talk about any pros or cons of acquiring offspring in a pair with a large age difference. Two people have the right to live together and must build their lives the way they like. This is a personal question for the couple who decided to join their family. This is neither good nor bad, this is a fact of this family. Yes, perhaps, families in which the baby's father is more than 70 or even 75 years old is not very common, but still one of the options for the norm.

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Of course, this raises a number of questions. And the first one is of an economic nature. Can the child's parents learn it, raise it, provide it as they see fit. The second question is of a medical nature, to what extent the health of each of the parents allows them to have a child and raise him. But such a question will face many other people - for example, in couples where one of the parents or both are HIV-positive, where the mother has a complex congenital heart disease, where one of the parents suffers from severe diabetes mellitus. Parents' health concerns people at any age. But, at the same time, the decision to give birth to a child or not remains purely at the discretion of the couple.

Both dad and mom must be fully responsible for this decision. In couples where the father is 70-75 +, it is important to understand whether he will be able to take a full part in growing up, raising a child.

“Yes, one of the widespread points of view in society is, 'Well, where does he need a child at that age?' But this point of view is not completely legitimate. The question of the duration of human life is individual, - emphasizes the gerontologist. - Of course, we want to live in an ideal world, where mom and dad live forever and the child is treated kindly, but where is the guarantee of a 25-year-old man that at 35 he will not be overtaken by a disease that doctors cannot cope with? There is no such guarantee. Age is a matter of pride and pleasure. No matter how old the parents are, it is necessary to take a responsible approach to family planning and think through all the questions to the maximum so that the child will suffer as little as possible if the situation develops unfavorably. Any couple should be comfortable at any age, without exception, therefore, society is required first of all to be accepted, ”the expert sums up.

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