Does Age Affect Male Fertility?
Unlike what most people believe, male fertility usually changes with age. You likely have the impression that age matters only in female fertility, but that is not necessarily the case. While it’s true that fertility changes are drastic in women, men also have biological clocks that they must look out for if they want to get children.
This post will share vital details on how male fertility is affected by age, so keep reading to stay informed.
Male Fertility: Semen Quality Peak & decline
Soroka University, situated in Israel, conducted research on semen quality in males. The objective was to compare the quantity and quality of semen in different male age groups.
The study covered everything that is entailed in a semen analysis, including how often men had sex. This is usually important because sexual abstinence usually lowers the quality of semen, while frequent sex creates more healthy sperm.
The researchers realized that semen quality usually is at its peak between the age of 30-35. The primary question is – could this be nature’s way of ensuring that a couple gets children before the female fertility declines at the age of 35? On the other hand, the overall quantity of semen was found to be at its lowest after 55 years.
Male Fertility: Age and sperm motility
The researchers found that sperm motility can change with age. Sperm motility is the capability of the sperms to swim well and get to the fallopian tubes on time to fertilize an egg regardless of their current environment. Sperm motility was found to be best before the age of 25 and at his lowest after 55 years.
When you compare the quantity of good swimming sperm in men between 30 to 35 and those over 55, you will realize that sperm motility will decrease by 54%. The study also revealed that sexual abstinence isn’t responsible for these strong variations.
Risks associated with genetic problems
Other than low-quality semen, age can also have an impact on the quality of the sperm. Research done at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as well as the California University at Berkeley revealed that genetic defects in sperm tend to increase with age in every man’s life.
The genetic defects can cause:
- Increased chances of miscarriage
- Decreased fertility
- Increased stillbirth risks
- Increased birth defects risks
After concluding the study, scientists reported that men are faced with infertility problems (Male fertility issues) and are more likely to pass various genetic problems to the kids. A combination of male age and female age increases the birth defects risks further. For instance, the Down syndrome risk will increase with age.
Research involving over 3,000 children found that the man’s age matters when a woman is aged 35 and above, and this is especially true if the female is 40 years of age or older. 50% of the children who got Down syndrome received the genetic defect from their paternal side.
Moreover, Down syndrome is not the only risk that can increase with paternal age. An old father is likely to get kids with:
- Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism
- Childhood leukemia
- Bipolar disorder
Female & Male Fertility Age Together
Making a baby requires the vote of both males and females. So, even as we focus on the man’s and the woman’s age, it is critical to consider how they combine.
A study involving 782 couples revealed that the odds of conception were primarily based on age and whether the involved parties had sex on their fertile days (right before ovulation started). The findings revealed an apparent fertility decrease depending on the woman’s age.
For women aged 19 to 26, the chances of getting pregnant on their fertile days were at 50%. Women whose age range was between 35 and 39 only had a 29% chance of conceiving. But, the most interesting thing about this study was the impact the male age had on conception. For ladies between 35 and 39, if a man was over five years older than the woman, the pregnancy success reduced to 15%. The odds got cut in half.
Male Fertility: IVF success
This post would be incomplete without covering the role of male age on IVF treatment success. Studies done earlier have indicated that male age can negatively affect IVF success rates. But, further studies have found that ICSI technology can help overcome age-related disadvantages.
A study retrospectively looked at over 2500 IVF cycles which also used ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). This procedure entails injecting sperm cells directly into an egg. Researchers realized that male age minimized the number of high-quality embryos even though it did not affect a pregnancy rate or boost the risk of pregnancy loss or preterm birth.
Another study covering about 4,800 cycles involved using donor eggs in IVF- ICSI cycle. All the eggs were donated by women aged 36 or younger in the study. The findings revealed that sperm count, motility, and concentration reduce with age. However, when it comes to the primary objective – pregnancy and birth – the rates were good, and the advanced paternal age didn’t affect success rates too.
It is vital to remember that all these results cannot be generalized to those who aren’t using IVF or combining IVF with ICSI.
When it comes to ICSI, and male fertility sperm do not need to swim well or try to penetrate the egg by themselves, and this, however, is required with natural conception or IVF without ICSI.
A word from Fertility2family
Unlike what most people believe, a man’s age does matter when it comes to conception and Male Fertility. Although men might not have a complete fertility drop-off like women, advanced paternal age is essential factor couples need to consider when they want to bear children. Both men and women must accept that they have biological clocks which will affect conception in one way or another. Therefore, be sure to consider the man’s age if you have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for a long time and seek help from a doctor or fertility specialist.