The male biological clock says that after 41 the chances for fatherhood decline rapidly but there is still a possibility. Great example of this fact is Rod Stewart who became a father for the eighth time at the age of 66.
Still, the average age of the cases where the IVF was unsuccessful was 45, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference concluded. The possibilities drop from 60% at the age of 41 to just 35% for the 45, with the researchers claiming that the biological clock is not only a women’s thing. Researcher Paula Fettback, of the Huntington Medicina Reproductiva clinic in Brazil, said: ‘Age counts. Men have a biological clock too. It is not the same as for women but they can’t wait forever to have children”.
A second research presented at the conference backed up the warning, presenting that fertility in male mice plummeted from a year old- equivalent to middle-age in people. The facts showed that fewer eggs were fertilised and fewer embryos grew long enough to be used in IVF, while pregnancies took longer to occur and when they did, the miscarriage rate rocketed from zero using sperm from young animals, to over 60%.
Researchers, from the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, mentioned that they believed there would be ‘some parallel’ with men. ‘We found an abrupt reproductive deterioration in mid-life, equivalent to humans in their 40s’, they noted.
Moreover, other studies have found that children of older fathers run an increased risk of heart defects, autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy, and are almost twice as likely to die before adulthood.
Even though men constantly produce fresh sperm, the ‘machinery’ that makes it can slow down and become defective over time. In addition, genetic errors may creep into sperm as men get older.
But other experts call would-be fathers not to worry, because IVF can be a huge help with many problems in sperm, in ways that it can’t with women’s eggs.
Dr Richard Sherbahn, of the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, said that while it is likely that male fertility does decline, any difference is likely to be just a few per cent over decades.
Charles Kingsland, a consultant gynecologist at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and member of the British Fertility Society, questioned the quality of the study and added that the quality of a woman’s eggs is far more important.
He advised men, who want to stay in good reproductive shape, to have a healthy diet, not smoke, consume alcohol only in moderation, keep active and avoid hot baths.
He added: ‘There are a lot of advantages to being a young father. First and foremost, you’ve got energy. But being an older father also confers certain advantages – stability, wisdom, maybe a bit of financial security’.
‘I wouldn’t go rushing off to procreate on the basis that tomorrow my fertility might drop’, he concluded.