If you thought your partner was the only one running out of time, think again. New research suggests blokes need to keep an eye on their biological clock as well.
Scientists suggest that men should strongly consider visiting the sperm back before they reach the “advanced paternal age”. Definitions vary but it’s typically above the age range of 35 or 45.
The research included 40 years worth of reports analysing the effect paternal age had on fertility, pregnancy and health of children.
The findings show that men who are older than this may experience decreased fertility, potentially increasing risk of pregnancy and birthing complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and preterm birth.
Other health risks associated with infants being born to older fathers include newborn seizures, low birth weight and congenital heart disease. Newborns were also at risk of developing certain types of cancers, cognitive disorders and autism.
“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 realise their advanced age can have a similar impact,” says Gloria Bachmann, lead author and director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
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“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 ageing.
“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.”
The team of researchers suggest it could be down to a natural decline in testosterone levels as you age as well as semen quality. Poor quality sperm has long been linked to birth complications.
“Although it is well documented that children of older fathers are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia – one in 141 infants with fathers under 25 versus one in 47 with fathers over 50 – the reason is not well understood,” Bachmann continues.
“Also, some studies have shown that the risk of autism starts to increase when the father is 30, plateaus after 40 and then increases again at 50.”