There is a global tendency for parents to conceive children later in life. The maternal dimension of the postponement transition has been thoroughly studied, but interest in the paternal side is more recent. For the moment, most literature reviews on the topic have focused on the consequences of advanced paternal age (APA) on fertility, pregnancy and the health of the child.
The present review seeks to move the focus away from the biological and medical dimensions of APA and synthesise the knowledge of the other face of APA.
We used the scoping review methodology. Searches of interdisciplinary articles databases were performed with keywords pertaining to APA and its dimensions outside of biology and medicine. We included scientific articles, original research, essays, commentaries and editorials in the sample. The final sample of 177 documents was analysed with qualitative thematic analysis.
We identified six themes highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of APA research. The ‘terminological aspects’ highlight the lack of consensus on the definition of APA and the strategies developed to offer alternatives. The ‘social aspects’ focus on the postponement transition towards reproducing later in life and its cultural dimensions. The ‘public health aspects’ refer to attempts to analyse APA as a problem with wider health and economic implications. The ‘psychological aspects’ focus on the consequences of APA and older fatherhood on psychological characteristics of the child. The ‘ethical aspects’ reflect on issues of APA emerging at the intersection of parental autonomy, children’s welfare and social responsibility. The ‘regulatory aspects’ group different suggestions to collectively approach the implications of APA. Our results show that the field of APA is still in the making and that evidence is lacking to fully address the issues of APA. The review suggests promising avenues of research such as introducing the voice of fathers of advanced age into the research agenda.
The results of this review will be useful for developing policies and preconception health interventions that consider and include prospective fathers of advanced age.

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References

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