The most striking thing to me about the online reaction to the recent study concluding that, in a fraction of cases, increased mutations found in the sperm of older men meant they were more likely than their younger counterparts to father children with autism or schizophrenia was the reaction that wasn’t. The reaction, that is, from the world of fathers who blog and write about their children and their children’s autism.

Every health blog, every website, every major news organization, covered this study (published online in the journal Nature and reported in The Times and everywhere else), as I wrote for the Sunday Styles section. But few “daddy bloggers” mentioned it at all. Of course, it was August. A good father was out romping with his children in the waning days of summer. But when research appears linking autism to age in women, or to antidepressant use, obesity, or even living by a highway — anything a mother could blame herself for, really — it’s not just the professional blogs, but the personal blogs, who run with the conversation. Now, women from Jezebel to New York Magazine (online) to Ashleigh Banfield of CNN are, well, gloating at another indication that men, too, have a biological clock for child-rearing, and it’s ticking.

But will the conversation men have really change? Joel Yanofsky, who has written about his son Jonah’s autism for Motherlode, shrugged off any tendency toward self-flagellation.

” ‘Blame Canada,’ the song from ‘South Park,’ has been running through my mind today,” he wrote in an email. He was 43 when his son was born. “Even if it’s true, there’s not much I can do about it now, is there?”

The blame game has become something of a joke between him and his wife, he writes.

“When Cynthia saw the article this morning, she said, ‘Your turn again.’ “

When it comes to things you can’t change (and studies showing only the smallest increases in risk, no matter how scientifically relevant), that cavalier attitude is to be envied. But when it comes to those “tons of guys in their 50s who have healthy children” touted by one male professor in discussing the research with the Times Science reporter Benedict Carey, it seems as though there are at least a few women out there who hope men might take those risks a little more to heart. Tons of women in their late 30s and even early 40s are able to get pregnant easily, too. (A smaller number of “tons,” but “tons” just the same.) But some women consider egg freezing. Some women worry about the timing of marriage and childbirth. They listen to those “biological clocks.”

Are men finally going to do the same?

Contact KJ Dell-Antonia at:

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