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Why men should seriously consider freezing their sperm before age 35

Marie Claire Dorking
New research is recommending men freeze their sperm [Photo: Getty]
New research is recommending men freeze their sperm [Photo: Getty]

For years women have lived under the threat of a ticking fertility time bomb. But, according to new research, men might have a biological clock, too.

A study, published in the journal Maturitas, suggested that men should consider banking their sperm before reaching “advanced paternal age”, which has been variably defined as above the age of 35 or 45 in medical fields.

While there has been extensive research regarding infertility and potential complications in an ageing mother, relatively few studies have explored similar reproductive factors in ageing men.

However, evidence suggests a decrease in fertility and an increase in pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth.

Additionally, children born to older men could have increased risks of chromosomal and non-chromosomal birth defects and an increased incidence of childhood autism and cancers.

To reach its conclusions the study reviewed 40 years worth of research on the effects paternal age had on fertility, pregnancy and the health of offspring.

READ MORE: How to boost your chances of falling pregnant naturally

Men have a ticking biological clock too, new research has revealed [Photo: Getty]
Men have a ticking biological clock too, new research has revealed [Photo: Getty]

Lead author of the research, Professor Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, revealed that a man's age can have a "similar impact" on fertility as a woman’s.

“While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realise their advanced age can have a similar impact,” she explains.

“In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with ageing.

"For example, just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose ‘fitness’ over the life cycle.”

Study authors suspect this could be down to the natural decline in testosterone levels men experience as they age, in addition to a reduction in semen quality.

READ MORE: Should women be able to store their frozen eggs for longer?

Researchers now believe men should be counselled and educated about the effect their age could have on conception, pregnancy and the health of their child.

She added: "While women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health, most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue."

It isn’t the first time men have been warned about their biological clock. Back in 2017 a study found that age can have a significant impact on a couple’s baby-making chances, and male fertility, like their female counterparts, also has a shelf life.