Will my son-in-law go bald?

Dr Mark Porter / 11 April 2017

Dr Mark Porter advises a reader whose daughter has become engaged to the son of a bald man.

Q: Our youngest daughter has just become engaged to a charming man.  I am thrilled for them but have one tiny reservation that I would like to run past you – her fiancé’s father is bald and started to lose his hair in thirties.  Is my future son-on-law likely to follow suit?

A: I hope that neither your daughter nor her fiancé read this!

At least half of all men suffer some degree of premature hair loss before they reach 50 as a result of male pattern baldness, so the odds are stacked against your future son-in-law even before his father’s legacy is taken into consideration.

We know that the condition is inherited but not all the genes have yet been fully identified, although it is thought that they come from both the maternal and paternal line. 

Indeed recent research suggests that there may be a stronger association with the maternal line so, rather than worrying about his father’s hair, you should ask about his maternal grandfather’s pate.  If his grandfather went prematurely bald too, then your future son-in-law is likely to follow suit.

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