Does a man’s fertility decline over time?
You hear stories about men fathering children well into their 60s and 70s — sometimes even into their 80s. This may be true in isolated cases. But scientists are finding that men experience an age-related decline in fertility, too. It occurs later than it does in women, typically starting in the late 30s. One study found a 40 percent decline in the probability of a man impregnating his partner from ages 35 to 40.
What causes reduced fertility in men? In order for your partner’s sperm to fertilize your egg, it must mature properly, survive intercourse and the passage through your reproductive tract, and remain viable until your egg is ready. It then must penetrate the firm capsule (zona pellucida) of the egg, fertilize the egg and provide normal genetic material for the early development of your baby. That’s a tall order anytime. Under the best circumstances, a sperm cell is capable of fertilizing an egg for only two to three days after ejaculation.
As a man gets older, his sperm have a harder time completing all these tasks. Starting even as early as his 30s, his sperm are more likely to have chromosome problems, which can adversely affect sperm function and the early development of the embryo. In addition, his sperm may not swim as well as they used to, although unless he also has a low sperm count, this isn’t likely to affect his fertility. Doctors and scientists are investigating whether changes in the testes and prostate may adversely affect sperm production and the biochemical properties of semen. Although a man’s age doesn’t seem to have much effect on the biochemistry of his semen, researchers are identifying new substances that may affect sperm function over time. Smoking and a few medications may decrease male fertility.
Tags: Does a man’s fertility decline over time, men's sexual health concerns, men's sexual health problems, men's sexual health tips and advices