A new study has revealed that male fertility drastically drops once you’re in your 50s. Researchers in the UK discovered that men’s chances of having a baby via IVF when they are in their 50s drops by a third compared to men in their mid-thirties.
The study also revealed that not only does fertility drop for men once they get older, but their sperm also contained more mutations, increasing the risk of having a child with a development disorder.
Here, we’ll look at what the research revealed and what men can do to determine their fertility.
What did the recent male fertility study find?
The new study carried out by the University College of London and the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health revealed a few interesting facts surrounding men’s fertility in their 50s.
They looked at records taken from almost 5000 IVF cycles which took part over the past nine years. It was discovered that half of the men who were under 35 years of age, were able to get their partners pregnant. For those aged 41-45, the male fertility rate fell to 35.1%, and by 51 years of age, it fell further to 30.5%.
There have been previous studies carried out which have looked into declining male fertility which occurs naturally through age. However, this is the first to really look into how it affects those going down the IVF route.
The study also revealed men in their 50s had the same kind of high-risk pregnancy rates as women. The sperm’s quality diminishes over time, with more abnormalities present for men in their 50s. This means the risk of having a child with a developmental disorder such as autism also increases with a man’s age.
Older celebrity father’s fuelling myth men can have babies at any age
It is a common belief that men can father children well into their sixties and seventies. This is largely fuelled by older celebrity fathers such as Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger. However, while it is certainly possible for older men to father a child, the chances do diminish quite rapidly after the age of 45.
Experts are now calling for more education to be given to younger men. They need to know about the risks of having a child later in life, as well as the difficulties it can present.
The tests men can have to determine their fertility
For men who are worried about their fertility chances, there are a number of male fertility tests which can be carried out, as well as measures that can be taken to improve their chances of becoming a father later in life.
Semen analysis is the most popular fertility test available. This looks into sperm count, as well as sperm quality and motility. It’s a very quick, painless test which can prove crucial at determining your fertility.
In terms of planning ahead, men can also have their sperm frozen for up to 15 years. That way, when they are in their 50s, they can use sperm from their 30s to fertilise their partner’s eggs.
Overall, this new study proves vital at highlighting the problems men face with fertility as they get older. More awareness needs to be provided so that men can start to make preparations if needed if they do want to wait to start a family. Those who are worried about their fertility can book a consultation with a fertility specialist and undergo tests to help diagnose any potential issues.