Fatherhood Lowers Men's Testosterone, But the Causes Remain Murky

By Veronique Greenwood | September 13, 2011 12:42 pm


If having kids has made you feel like less of a party animal, men, you now have some science backing you up. A new study following men from their single salad days through the early years of their children’s lives found that fathers had a steeper decline in testosterone levels than men who remained single and childless. Though previous studies had indicated that fathers had lower testosterone, this is the first study to look at men before and after fatherhood, showing that it’s not just that lower-testosterone males are more likely to become dads. (In fact, this study shows the opposite—it’s the hormone-pumped guys who are more likely to settle down with a partner and have kids.)

But testosterone declines naturally with age, and stress is known to contribute to cellular aging. Is the accelerated decline because zero sleep, frayed nerves, and other byproducts of procreating are making men old before their time? That’s a question for next time—this study doesn’t address the decline’s cause.

Image courtesy of edenpictures / flickr

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain
  • Michelle M

    The lowered level of testosterone does not mean the men are aging faster because they are fathers ! It probably has to do with having to be less agressive around children.

  • Stephen Wilson

    It’s MARRIAGE, not fatherhood!

  • Etienne

    What about married, childless men?
    My money is on stress being the causal factor.

  • Mac McFarland

    I’m not discounting stress, but try living a few years in an environment in which your everyday furniture is displaced by of gaudy plastic playthings! Even if they don’t leach BPA, it’ll take the testosterone right out of you!

  • Dave in Calif

    No man caves…ever, that will shrink any mans b…s mine are like rasins now…

  • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531162142.htm Eugene

    That is simple to explain, it is due to sleep deprivation.



    from source:

    “This study found that skipping sleep reduces a young man’s testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years…The effects of sleep loss on testosterone levels were apparent after just one week of short sleep. Five hours of sleep decreased their testosterone levels by 10% to 15%. The young men had the lowest testosterone levels in the afternoons on their sleep restricted days, between 2 pm and 10 pm”


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