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A: People assume that older men are still fertile since they can produce sperm. Theoretically you can have children at any age if you have sperm. But is that sperm going to give you the same genetic qualities as the sperm from a younger individual? We know that fertility does decline. We know that after the age of 30, there is a drop in testosterone of 1 percent a year. Testosterone is the energy, the hormone that you need to make good-quality sperm. It takes much longer for an older man to have children. But we haven’t studied fertility of men in their 60s or older.
One of my committee members is only a year older than me and will go up for tenure next year. She has a 2 month old baby and is looking at houses with her husband, also an academic. We live in an incredibly expensive city, as I mentioned before. A friend took a TT job in a mid-sized city two years ago and had a baby last year. Neither she nor her husband make a fortune, but they bought a house and have their kid. Somehow dual-income families in much lower wage brackets manage to have kids all the time; it only seems to be academics who require certain salaries to deal with the sacrifices of child rearing.