Men should bank their sperm before they reach 35

Men should bank their sperm before they reach 35

By Kristelle Bechayda

If you think women are the only ones with a ticking ‘biological clock,’ a recent study published on European Menopause Journal, Maturitas, will make you think otherwise.

After reviewing 40 years of research on how parental age can affect fertility, pregnancy, and the offspring’s health, it was found that men who fathered children at an advanced age can also bring pregnancy complications and health problems to the baby.

“While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realize their advanced age can have a similar impact,” explained the study’s author Gloria Bachmann who is the director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Health risks discovered

While the medical profession has no accepted age range of advanced paternal age, the study found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put their partners at risk for increased pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth.

On the other hand, babies born to older fathers were found to be at higher risk for premature birth, late still-birth, low Apgar scores, low birth weight, and cleft palate. These children were more prone to developing childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism, as they matured.

“In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with aging. For example, just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose ‘fitness’ over the life cycle,” continues Bachmann.

She added that sperm damage due to aging can also result to a decrease in sperm count, as well as a change in the sperm and egg cells parents pass on to their offspring.

The risky effects brought by advancing paternal age is seen as these so-called ‘heredity mutations’ may eventually lead to the offspring developing disorders.

According to Bachmann, children with older fathers have more chances of being diagnosed with schizophrenia (one in 141 infants with fathers under 25 years old, as compared to one in 47 with fathers over 50). On the other hand, some studies have shown that the risk of autism starts to increase when the father is 30, plateaus after 40, then increases again at 50.

Men should bank their sperm before they reach 35

Another finding of the study is that older men struggled with fertility issues even if their partner was under 25 years old.

“While women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health, most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue,” Bachmann said.

She also advised for men who plan on delaying fatherhood to consider banking their sperm before their 35th (at most by their 45th birthday) to decrease the chances of health risks of the mother and the child.

Story from Science Daily.