Do Men Have Biological Clocks?
According to current research, women might not be the only bearers of the infamous fertility pocket watch. It’s long been accepted that a woman’s age can affect the likelihood of conception and the health outcomes of pregnancy; however, it now seems the same is true for a man’s age.
New studies have found that male fertility begins to decline in the same age range as female fertility, between 35 and 45. Men have been largely excluded from the “ticking biological clock” conversation due to their ability to make new sperm daily. However, male reproductive organs involved in the creation of sperm become slower and less efficient with age, resulting in lower sperm count as well as genetic abnormalities.
Researchers believe these changes not only decrease fertility but also impact the success of the pregnancy and/or the health of the fetus. Even if a female partner is young and healthy, research has found that older paternal age can result in a higher likelihood of miscarriage as well as pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. Additionally, offspring of older men are shown to be at greater risk for autism and psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia.
While most women are aware of the effects of age on conception and pregnancy, many men are not. Therefore, if there’s even a small chance that you want to have a child one day, it’s important that you think about your fertility health.
For younger men, this mostly means focusing on your general health by eating healthy and exercising regularly, as well as limiting your consumption of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Some men might also consider having a semen analysis done to evaluate the number, motility, and morphology of their sperm. If you’re in your 30s and want to preserve your fertility potential for future use, you should also consider freezing and storing your sperm. This is an especially great option for men who are thinking about getting a vasectomy.
If you have any additional questions or concerns and would like to talk to a male fertility specialist in the San Diego area, don’t hesitate to contact Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists today.