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Saturday 13 July 2024
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Impact Of Advancing Age On Male Fertility: A Sneak Peak

Impact Of Advancing Age On Male Fertility: A Sneak Peak

Are you aware that approximately 70 million individuals worldwide are impacted by infertility? Yes, you heard us right! The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that fertility issues affect 9% of couples globally. And, can you believe it? The male factor is responsible for half of the issues. However, what about the situation in India? The occurrence of primary infertility, where a person has never achieved pregnancy, varies from 3.9% to 16.8%. Male infertility can stem from a range of factors, including genetic conditions, advancing age, lifestyle choices, medical conditions, and medications. Therefore, for people who are considering starting their family later, it is essential to understand the impact of advancing age on male fertility.

Impact of Paternal Age On Fertility

Even though men’s “biological clocks” don’t tick as loudly as women’s do, their age can affect their ability to father a child thereby impacting the health of their future offspring. With the progressing male age, the quality of the sperm declines. According to a 2020 study, males over 40 had a 30% lower chance of getting pregnant than men under 30.  Therefore, fertility rates decline as men age.

Additionally, many other factors contribute to male infertility. With advancing age, men may have a higher chance of developing various medical conditions such as low-quality sperm caused by testicular cancer, prostate cancer*, and erectile dysfunction**.

*which affects the glands that produce fluids to aid in sperm nourishment and transportation

** which is characterised by difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection during sexual activity

Why Does Sperm Quality Decline?

When factors like diseases, environment & lifestyle choices kick in, male fertility goes down the hill. And if you’re in your 40s, then it takes a toll on your fertility. Result? Low Sperm Quality!  But after a certain age, what precisely goes wrong with your sperm? Let’s unwind the answer:

★    Reduces Sperm Motility

The percentage of actively swimming or moving sperm in a particular semen sample is called total motility. It enables the sperm to pass through the cervix, fallopian tube, and vagina to meet the egg. However, research indicates that even if you’re a young, healthy man and don’t smoke, your sperm motility will still decline by 0.8% annually. As the sperm travels through the male reproductive canal, it goes through the prostate gland and the epididymis, where it acquires motility. As you age, these glands stop working, making your sperm less motile.

★    Reduces Sperm Count And Concentration

The total quantity of sperm in the semen sample is the sperm count. According to the WHO, a typical sperm count might vary from 39 million to 701 million per ejaculation.

The number of sperm/ml of semen is the sperm concentration. A male needs at least 16 million sperm/ml of semen for a healthy pregnancy.

Regarding the sperm count drop with age, there is not much data available that clearly shows this trend. However, according to some research, advancing age impacts male fertility by causing a decline in sperm concentration by 3.3%.

★    DNA Fragmentation

The idea of DNA fragmentation is unfamiliar to most males. However, it’s an influential factor in determining male fertility, particularly as you become older. DNA fragmentation, to put it simply, is the extent of DNA damage in your sperm. DNA fragmentation occurs in men of all ages, although as you get older, the rate increases by 0.3% a year.

★    Abnormal Sperm Morphology

The term “sperm morphology” describes the typical size, shape, and structure of the sperm. The proportion of sperm having a typical, or perhaps more accurately, appropriate morphology declines with age. This drop is approximately 2.2% as each year goes by. Furthermore, the likelihood of a deviant sperm fertilising an egg is exceedingly low, as one might expect.

Further Consequences Of Increasing Male Age

Along with low sperm quality and reduced fertility rates, advanced paternal age can pose many other problems related to pregnancy & the offspring. The most common issue seen among ageing males trying for a baby with their spouse is miscarriage. Pregnancy loss during 6–20 weeks is 27% more likely in cases where the father is above 35. And as they reach above 50, this rate rises even further.

Additionally, statistics indicate that if the father is older than 45, the likelihood of a preterm birth increases by 1.7% to 2.1%. Furthermore, compared to fathers in their early 20s, men between the ages of 30-35 are more likely to give birth to children who suffer birth abnormalities. As they approach 50, the risk multiplies once more—it rises by 16% to be exact!

In addition to these unfavourable pregnancy outcomes, advanced paternal age is associated with a higher risk of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in their offspring, such as psychosis, autism, and schizophrenia.

How You Can Monitor Your Fertility?

Though we can’t halt time, we can learn to accept it and move forward without losing the opportunity to become parents! And choosing to have a semen analysis is the only way to accomplish it, which is better if done sooner. Because, as we recently discovered, male fertility starts to decline beyond the age of 35. For some, it might begin a bit early, and for others, it might be 40 or higher. Does that imply that everyone who is 20 or 25 should sit back and unwind? Absolutely not!

Win The Game With SpermScore!

The most effective method to determine your fertility and take timely action is to have a sperm test. It provides you with a thorough understanding of the condition of your sperm and makes fertility testing simple and cost-effective for couples. LifeCell is here to help men take a step towards preconception care with SpermScore. It is a convenient and confidential way to test the quality of your sperm from the comfort and privacy of your home.

You can also be proactive and preserve your sperm for future use with LifeCell’s SpermVault – if you’re planning to become a dad in the future but not ready yet. It is India’s first-ever facility to provide long-term sperm cryopreservation service. To learn more about it in detail, visit www.lifecell.in/

Product Recommendations:

  • SpermScore
  • SpermVault

Also Read:

  • Age and delayed parenthood
  • Cancer therapy and Chronic medical conditions

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24054934/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562258/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253726/
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10920089/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321353/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270136/
  8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01485010701225667?journalCode=iaan19
  9. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240030787
  10. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-sperm-count/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993171/
  12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/andr.12389
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724202/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6030011/