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Does Age Affect Male Fertility?

Think you're a bit long in the tooth? Professor Allan Pacey explains the impact that age has on male fertility.


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0:02 Older men often worry about whether their sperm is as good in quality
0:08 compared to when they were younger or in comparison to younger men.
0:12 If we look down the microscope at sperm from an older man and compared it to
0:17 a younger man, we would probably struggle to see many visible differences.
0:23 Age does have a small effect so older men do ejaculate fewer sperm,
0:30 they swim less well and they're less healthy in terms of size and shape but
0:35 probably not enough to have a significant effect on their fertility.
0:39 Other things happen as men get older,
0:44 first they're interest in sex declines so sexual frequency declines and that is
0:50 not the best if you're trying for a baby
0:52 so if you are in a couple where the man is older and perhaps the woman is younger
0:58 trying to do anything you can to boost the number of times you have sex
1:02 is probably a good thing to do. In terms of sperm and older men
1:07 we know that at the genetic level sperm from older men are a little bit less
1:14 healthy and that impacts how likely those sperm are to fertilize an egg but
1:20 it also impacts how likely that pregnancy is to succeed and we do know
1:26 that pregnancies in women that have been fathered by older man are more likely to
1:33 end in miscarriage
1:35 than pregnancies in women fathered to younger men.
1:38 There must be something happening in sperm to cause this to happen and what
1:44 we think it is is that simply that the sperm production factory is getting a
1:49 bit tired
1:50 in older man. There tends to be a cut off at around the age of 40 and we see that
1:56 pregnancies are less successful in men above the age of 14 comparison to those
2:01 below the age of 40.
2:03 So my advice would be this, if you are in a relationship and you want to
2:08 try for a baby
2:09 and you're able to try for a baby it's probably better to start sooner
2:15 rather than later. If you're above the age of 40 I wouldn't panic but I would
2:20 just be aware of the fact that you may have to try a bit harder and it may take
2:24 longer before a pregnancy is established and that you are successful.