Age and male fertility
Men often think that their age doesn’t matter when it comes to having a child and the biological clock is important only for the child-bearing mother. However, the number and quality of the sperm declines with your age. From a biological standpoint, experts recommend a man is best suited to fatherhood from his late 20s to early 30s.
It is still possible for men to father a child in their 50s and older. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest man to father a child was 92 years old at the time of the birth. Still, researchers have found that a man’s age can affect a couple’s chances of becoming pregnant. Males over 40 years of age have a lower likelihood of success.25
Men’s biological clock
Men typically never stop producing sperm but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a ‘biological clock’ like women. As a man ages, his sperm undergoes genetic mutations which increases the likelihood that the DNA of his sperm may be damaged. This can influence fertility and also create potential impacts on the health of his future children.
Studies have shown that fathers of an ‘advanced paternal age’ may be more likely to have children with neurodevelopmental disorders. A study done in 2010 observed the offspring of men over 40 had a five-fold risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder compared to the general population.
How long should you wait
What age is too young too young to become a father? A research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that becoming a father before the age of 25 could lead to serious health consequences and may even lead to untimely death in middle age. The study found that men who became fathers earlier in life were more likely to have poor health and die younger than those who delayed fatherhood until they were 30 to 44. Apart from this, there is a considerable amount of psychological and financial stress that can come with having a child in your early adulthood when you are not fully prepared for it.45
Lifestyle factors that hamper fertility
There are many lifestyle factors that can hamper your sperm quality. These include a poor diet, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs and obesity. Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move efficiently through the woman’s reproductive tract to reach and fertilise the egg. Smoking has been associated not just with a decrease in the sperm quality, but also their amount and motility.
How to produce optimum sperm
In order to produce optimum sperm, it is essential to eat healthy foods. If you’re overweight, losing a few kilos will make it easier for you to conceive. Some studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants can also help. Cut back on alcohol and smoking to improve your sperm quality. Quitting both gradually is the best option. Keep your groin cool as your testicles make the best sperm when they’re slightly cooler than the rest of your body. To do this, avoid wearing too tight clothes, resting a laptop in your lap for long, spending a lot of time in a hot environment, or sitting for long periods of time.
First published in Times of India