Male fertility & Age
Monday, February 21, 2022
A decrease in a man’s fertility appears to occur later in life than in a woman’s fertility. In their mid-to-late 40s, men experience changes in their sperm that can cause issues with fertility and chromosomal/developmental problems with offspring.
Although men can remain fertile for longer than women – into their 50s and beyond, however, as a man ages, his body’s capacity to produce sperm reduces. Low sperm count and poor quality sperm are the most common causes of male infertility.
Sperm cells of an older man are also more likely to have genetic abnormalities than those of a younger man. The older a man is, the longer it will take him to get his partner pregnant. And his partner is at greater risk trusted Source for a miscarriage, regardless of her age.
This doesn’t mean that a man can’t father children in his 40s and beyond. But it might be a little more difficult than it was earlier in his life.
While the effects of female age on fertility have been known for a long time, more recent studies have found that the age of the male partner also affects the chance of pregnancy and pregnancy health.
What causes age-related male fertility decline?
As men get older, they have an increased risk of medical conditions that affect sexual health and fertility, such as erectile dysfunction and cancers. But even perfectly healthy men experience male fertility decline. A few potential causes for this decline are:
•Decreased sperm motility.:“Motility” is the ability of the sperm to move and “swim” properly toward the egg. Research demonstrates that sperm motility decreases with age; one study of healthy, non-smoking men demonstrated that motility decreased .8% per year. Motility is developed as the sperm travel through the prostate and the epididymis, so motility decrease is thought to be due to age-related decline in the function of these glands.
•Decreased sperm morphology: “Morphology” refers to the size and shape of sperm. Studies indicate that normal sperm morphology declines .2–.9% per year, resulting in a 4–18% decrease in normal morphology over a 20-year period. A lower number of normally shaped sperm results in male fertility decline, as sperm with abnormal morphology is less likely to fertilize an egg.
• Decreased seminal volume: There may be a very mild decrease in seminal volume (how much semen is ejaculated) with age. Some reports show a modest change of .15–.2% per year, which accumulates to a 3–4% decrease in seminal volume over a 20-year period (with the most pronounced changes occuring in men over age 45). Some studies, on the other hand, show no difference in volume with age, so the impact this has on male fertility decline is not clear.
•Risk of Genetic Problems: Besides low-quality semen, age also affects the genetic quality of male sperm. These genetic sperm defects may cause:
– increased chance of miscarriage.
-Increased risk of some birth defects.
-Increased risk of stillbirth.
The scientists reported that older men are not only at risk for infertility. They are also more likely to pass on genetic problems to their children.
Children of older fathers also have an increased risk of mental health problems (although this is still rare). Children of fathers aged 40 or over are 5 times more likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder than children of fathers aged 30 or less. They also have a slightly increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders later in life.
What can you do to protect your fertility with age?
The following can all help to safeguard your chances of conceiving a healthy baby:
– Eat Healthy, if you’re very overweight, losing a few pounds is likely to make it easier for you to conceive.
– Stop smoking, men who smoke tend to have lower-quality semen than non-smokers. Plus, if your partner does become pregnant, second-hand smoke will be dangerous for her and the baby.
– Minimise stress, feeling calm and relaxed circumstances it may actually improve your sperm quality. So if you’re trying to conceive, take it easy as much as possible.
– Sleep well, having a healthy sleep pattern is a simple way of fighting any problems you might have with trying to conceive.
– Keep your groin cool, Your testicles make the best sperm when they’re slightly cooler than the rest of your body. So you may want to avoid having a laptop resting in your lap, spending lots of time in a hot environment, or sitting still for long periods of time.
Is there a medical approach to improve fertility?
Yes. There are medical strategies that can maximize the chance of conceiving. They are focused upon getting the egg and sperm together at the best time for conception to occur. These strategies can include “washing” sperm, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or taking fertility medications.