Age and fertility. When we think about it, we are obviously thinking about women, right? Women are the ones whose biological clocks are always ticking away, and the ones who need to worry about what age to get pregnant.
However, something that isn’t talked about very much is male fertility and age. Is there a correlation? Is there really an age limit to male fertility like there is for female fertility? Read on to find out more.
1. The Basics
As we already know, there is no real age limit on male fertility. In fact, the world’s oldest new dad just fathered a child at the age of 96. So, we know that it is possible for men to continue to produce viable sperm up through the golden years, but is it likely? The effects of age on male fertility have been studied much less than the effects of age on female fertility, but there have been a few studies done.
2. The Research
In one study of couples undergoing high-tech infertility treatments, researchers concluded that a man’s chances of fathering a child decrease with each passing year. In the study, the odds of a successful pregnancy fell by 11% every year; their chances for obtaining a successful live birth declined even farther.
The study was reported in a 2004 issue of the American Journal of Gynecology. German researchers compiling the most recent data on aging sperm reported that the volume, motility (ability to move toward its destination, an awaiting egg), and structure of sperm all decline with age. They published this update in a 2004 issue of Human Reproduction Update.
3. The Issues
While a man can technically continue to father a child until his death that could cause health problems for the baby. As men get older they see a decline in the male hormone testosterone, a decline in fertility, and a greater chance of fathering children with genetic problems. So just because he can make sperm doesn’t mean its high-quality sperm.
As men age, the volume, motility (speed), and quality of their sperm decline. This is an important thing to note. Just like women have lower quality eggs as they near the end of their fertile years, it seems like the same thing happens to men as well as they age.
Some studies indicate that paternal age is associated with conditions like dwarfism, Down syndrome and even schizophrenia. When it comes to male fertility and age, it is true that technically a man can father a child, but that does not mean that there will be no health implications for baby or father on down the line.