Fertility is connected to age in both, males and females. Age matters when it comes to fertility. Male fertility starts reducing around 40 years of age. The age of the male partner also tends to impact the chances of pregnancy. Thus, conceiving becomes challenging and difficult. But, still, there is no awareness regarding the impact of age on fertility in men. It is the need of the hour for men to understand the fact that fertility declines with age and pregnancy should be planned at the right age. Read on to more about the effects of male age on fertility by Dr. Sulbha Arora, Clinical Director at Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai.
The link between age and fertility
Age and fertility are interlinked. The age of both, the male and female partner should be taken into consideration while planning a pregnancy. Advancing age affects the fertility of both, men and women. The single most important determinant of the couple’s fertility is the age of the female partner. This is because women are born with fixed ovarian deserve that decreases right from birth. The decline in fertility is more significant after crossing 30, more so after they cross 35. Not just that, the risk of pregnancy complications and the chances of abnormalities in the babies also increase as the woman’s age increases.
Male age and infertility
As far as men are concerned, the decline in their fertility is more subtle. The man’s age also affects the chances of them conceiving. Male age over 45 increases the risk of miscarriages and the child’s risk of mental health and developmental disorders.
According to experts, men aged 40 years and younger have a greater chance of fathering as compared to those older than 40. The main reason why it is said is the quality of sperm which is better in younger men. As you age, the quality as well as quantity of sperm declines. Every day, a man produces millions of sperm but not all of them are healthy. The number of healthy sperms decreases with age. Also, semen and sperm motility also decline with advancing age. This is why most couples who plan late pregnancy fail to conceive naturally. They thus, opt for other methods of pregnancy such as IVF and surrogacy.
Also Read: What is The Difference Between Infertility and Subfertility?
A lot of people would be thinking about the cases wherein a man in late 60s become a father naturally. This is a rare possibility. For late pregnancy, both male sperm and female egg needs to be healthy which is not possible in most cases. If the male partner is above 40 years then the mother might suffer problems in conception. Planning pregnancy in younger years increases the chances of faster conception. There are several health risks associated with late pregnancy for both mother and child. Women may suffer from a miscarriage in late pregnancy.
When does male fertility start to reduce?
- It lowers at the age of 40-45 years when the sperm quality starts declining.
- Increasing male age reduces the overall chances of pregnancy and time taken to conception.
- Sperm motility lowers after 40, and the volume of ejaculate produced goes down after 45.
- The Sperm DNA fragmentation index also increases with age.
Advancing age can therefore also increase the risk of miscarriage and foetal death. Here is how late pregnancy affects children:
- Children of older fathers also have an increased risk of mental health problems.
- Children whose fathers are above 40 are 5 times more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder when compared to children of fathers whose age is 30 or less.
- Not only this, but they also have a risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders later in life according to some studies.
- Male factor infertility is associated with poor quality sperms, low sperm counts, abnormal sperm shapes, sperm that do not move correctly, and a high percentage of sperms with DNA fragmentation.
In a nutshell, there is a direct link between male age and fertility. Until now, only a woman’s age was taken into consideration while planning pregnancies but male age is equally imperative. Conception is difficult if the father is above 40 years because of poor healthy sperm count. So, it is better to plan a pregnancy before you turn 40 years for a healthy pregnancy.
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