Back in July, we posted a blog on age and how it affects female fertility. But it’s important to note that age has a huge impact on male fertility as well. We are almost overexposed to news that relates to age and female fertility, and we feel that the impact age has on male fertility has been somewhat overlooked. Despite this, there have been several studies on the subject that have concluded that older men may encounter several issues when trying to father a child.For starters, male fertility generally begins to droop around the 40-year mark. Semen quality tends to peak around 30-35 years of age, and sperm motility peaks around the age of 25.
So, as men get older the quality of their semen diminishes significantly, but the genetic quality of the sperm drops as well. Older men run the risk of their sperm developing genetic defects, which can often cause a decrease in fertility in both men and women. Genetic defects can increase the risk of miscarriages.
Miscarriages are twice as likely among women with male partners who are 45 years of age or older. Genetic defects can also increase the risk of various birth defects, as the genetic defects found in sperm have the potential to be passed onto the children themselves. For example, men who are 40 years of age or older are five times more likely to father a child with an autism spectrum disorder.
Older couples trying to conceive often seek IVF treatment, as older women have a harder time conceiving because of their low-ovarian egg reserves. But studies have shown that IVF treatments can have a decreased level of success if the man is 40 years of age or older. Even if donor eggs are used, the diminished semen counts of men (typical in men 40 years of age or older) can quite possibly play a major role in IVF treatment failure. Further studies suggested that lower-quality embryos might be linked to lower-quality sperm.