It is a well-known fact that it becomes more difficult for women to get pregnant with age. This is because females are born with all the eggs they will use in their lifetime, and over time (especially after age 32), these eggs break down until the female is no longer able to reproduce. In contrast, men can produce between 100 million and 200 million new sperm cells each day – but this does not mean that male fertility remains constant over time.
Just like women, men can (and will) experience a decline in fertility as they age. But that doesn’t prevent people from having children later in life: since 1980, fertility rates have increased by 21% in men over 30 and nearly 30% in men over 40. In contrast, the fertility rate of men under the age of 30 fell 15%.
Fertility in men changes with age. While fertility changes are more drastic in women, men also have a biological clock. Most people understand that older women tend to have more problems conceiving than younger women. So does Age Affect Male Fertility?
Let us see this article to know.
Age affects male fertility.
Even if many people don’t realize this, age also plays a role for men. Age is much more important to male fertility than most people think. Although men don’t wholly end their natural fertility around age 50 (as women experience through menopause), male fertility declines dramatically with age, as does female fertility.
For example, researchers looked at a large group of couples under the age of 25. All these couples are trying to have a baby naturally. If the male partner is also under 25 years of age, the median time to conception is more than four months. However, if the male partner is 40 years of age or older, the average time to conception is nearly two years.
Even if a partner switches to IVF, the man’s age affects his success. If the man was 41 years old or older, the couple were five times more likely not to have a baby than if they were under 25.
The age of the partner also influences the risk of a partner’s miscarriage. If he is over 45 years old, the risk of miscarriage is double compared to couples with men under 25 years old. Here too, the age of the spouses is under 25 for all couples.
Even with a successful birth, the baby’s health can still be affected by the father’s age. For example, older fathers are more likely to have children with Down syndrome and schizophrenia.
Does my partner’s age affect my fertility?
Yes, that’s true because your sperm tends to contain damaged DNA as you age, which can make it challenging to give birth to a healthy baby. Your partner’s egg has an innate mechanism that can repair the damaged DNA carried by the sperm. But the older it gets, the less effective it is. As a result, some risks of genetic disorders do not become a factor until the mother and father are older.
Although most men can have children over the age of 50, it gradually becomes more difficult after age 40. Factors affecting include:
- Sperm quality decreases with age: In particular, the shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of sperm deteriorate with age, making the fertilization of an egg more difficult. As you age, your sperm count may also decrease.
- After 40 years, testosterone levels tend to decrease: This can reduce your libido or make it harder for you to have sex regularly.
- Diseases that affect fertility are more common in older men: Some medical problems in old age can also affect fertility.
- Older men usually have older partners: Fertility in women begins to decline from 30 years and declines more sharply from 35 years. The older your partner is, the harder it will be to get pregnant.
These factors don’t mean you can’t have children later in life. But they thought it might be more difficult.
How does age change male fertility?
Many aspects of sperm production are affected by ageing. For example, sperm count in men decreases significantly with age. Sperm mobility also decreases with age. As a result, the sperm cannot complete the complex process of approaching and fertilizing the egg. In addition, the percentage of abnormally shaped sperm increases with age. Sperm that are abnormally shaped may be less able to swim to reach the egg, or they may not be able to fertilize it even if they do. Reproductive technology can help offset low sperm counts and fertilization difficulties through IVF and ICSI, where sperm is injected directly into the egg to ensure fertilization.
In older men, sperm are also more likely to have genetic abnormalities. Because of this, the likelihood of genetic disorders in the children of older men increases. This is why, even after the egg is fertilized, the frequency of miscarriage is higher when the father is older. In addition, genetic changes in sperm can affect the ability of the embryo to grow and develop properly. Reproductive technology does not change the genetic makeup of sperm, although technicians can select the healthiest embryos to transfer to the uterus to maximize the chances of a healthy baby. There is also the option of using donor sperm for those who do not see the desired success with their sperm.
Due to these age-related sperm changes, some men partially freeze their sperm when they are in their 20s. This can provide a higher quality semen sample later when they are ready to father a child.
Does the risk of having a baby with genetic problems increase with age?
Unfortunately, some genetic disorders seem to be more common in babies with older fathers. You may be slightly more at risk of having a baby with the following conditions as you get older, especially between the ages of 40 and older:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Schizophrenia, but the risk remains low.
- Down syndrome, your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome may increase slightly with age, but only if your partner is over the age of 35.
- Certain types of leukaemia. However, the increased risk is very low, and leukaemia is still rare in children of older fathers.
Other aspects of your life, such as your medical history and your family’s lifestyle, will have a much more significant impact.
What can a patient do to protect fertility as they age?
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your fertility and strength at optimal levels. The following can help protect your chances of having a healthy baby:
- Eat healthily: If you are very overweight, losing a few pounds will likely make it easier for you to get pregnant. Some research suggests that an antioxidant-rich diet can also help, although research on this is less convincing.
- Quit smoking: Men who smoke tend to have lower sperm quality than nonsmokers. If your partner is pregnant, secondary smoke is also harmful to her and her baby. If you smoke, now is a great time to quit, improve your health, and protect your family.
- Cut down on alcohol: Excessive drinking can affect sperm quality. The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for at least three days. Follow these guidelines carefully when trying to get pregnant. One unit of alcohol is about half a litre of regular beer or 25 ml of alcohol, while a small glass (125 ml) of wine contains 1.5 units.
- Keep your groin cool: Your testicles produce the best sperm when they are slightly cooler than the rest of your body. So you should avoid putting the laptop on your lap, spending a lot of time in hot environments, or standing still for long periods. Research is still being done to see if wearing loose-fitting underwear can help, but it might be worth a try.
- Minimize stress: Feelings of calm and serenity make it easier to have a much lighter mood for sex and improve sperm quality. So, when trying to get pregnant, make it as easy as possible for yourself.
These tips can help you keep your fertility at its best. However, keep in mind that a healthy and fertile couple sometimes takes time to conceive.
The age of the man is essential. Men may not experience a total decrease in fertility as women do. But “paternal age” is something couples need to know. This is because both men and women struggle with their biological clocks.At Ziva infertility Clinic at Hyderabad, we meet patients of all ages. If you are interested in discussing any of these topics or would like further information on sperm freezing for future use, please get in touch with us to schedule a consultation at +91-9392834024, +91-9100002737. We are always happy to educate the public about fertility. We love to see happy families in our community!