It is true that much less is known about birth defects caused by paternal influences than those caused by maternal influences

It is true that much less is known about birth defects caused by paternal influences than those caused by maternal influences. That may be because women carry the baby and it is clearer to see the correlation between any actions by the mother, while in utero, and the impact they may have in the development of the baby. However, there have been studies that have gotten the ball rolling on the idea that fathers can also have an influence on fetal development that may lead to birth defects. An example is a study done using mice. One group of mice was exposed to alcohol and the other group of mice was exposed to saline. Both groups of mice were then mated with female mice who were not exposed to neither alcohol or saline. The male mice who were exposed to alcohol had high incidents of offspring who had abnormal organ and brain development. This study supported the idea that there was a correlation between paternal alcohol exposure resulting in abnormalities in fetal development (Taylor & Francis, 2014). Other studies and research have shown that abnormalities in sperm can also lead to fetal developmental abnormalities. For example, the use of alcohol and smoking has shown to cause malformed sperm which then heightens the incidence of a pregnancy resulting in miscarriage (Williams, 2012). It seems that the male influence has its highest impact at the time of conception. The cilia in the female reproductive tract can’t distinguish good sperm from bad sperm and will help sweep along any sperm toward the ovum. The sperm that reaches the ovum may be one that already has abnormalities present. These abnormalities or chromosomal mutations in the sperm can be carried over during cell division. The abnormalities affect the development of the fetus and result in birth defects even if the women carrying the child has a healthy pregnancy.