Middle-aged men warned their biological clock is ticking, too
Published 20/10/2011 | 05:00
IT IS not just women who have a ticking biological clock, according to a study that has found the chances of men fathering children fall each year once they reach middle age.
Analysis of patients at an infertility clinic found that the chances of a man getting his wife pregnant dropped by 7pc each year between the ages of 41 and 45, reducing even more sharply among older men.
Until now, the pressure has been on women to start a family before they turn 40, but Dr Paula Fettback, the lead researcher from the Huntingdon Reproductive Medicine Centre in Brazil, said: "Of course it's not the same as for women, but men can't wait forever. After 45, they have to start thinking about having children."
In the study, presented this week at the annual conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Florida, she analysed the outcome of 570 IVF treatments carried out at her clinic between March 2008 and April this year.
Only cases where eggs were donated by young, healthy women were included.
The results showed that the age of men in the group who did not conceive was "significantly higher" than among those who were able to have a baby.
When the husband was 41, the couple had a 60pc chance of getting pregnant.
Dr Fettback said: "The contribution of female age on human reproduction is well known; however, the contribution of male age is not well understood.
"As a growing number of men are choosing to father children at older ages, comprehending the impact of male age and sperm quality has become incredibly important in public health."
Charles Kingsland, a consultant gynaecologist and member of the British Fertility Society, said the Brazilian study should be treated with caution as men produce fresh sperm every day, compared with women who are born with a lifetime supply of eggs.
"There are lots of advantages to being a younger father," he said. "But being an older father does confer certain advantages such as stability, wisdom and maybe a bit more financial security," he added. (© Daily Telegraph, London)