The role of age related male infertility
It’s a well-known fact that female fertility declines with age, but fewer people are aware that age related male infertility can also play a role in a couple’s ability to grow their family. For men who are 40 or older and who are having trouble conceiving, a visit to a Louisiana male fertility specialist is a good place to start.
Recent years have seen a trend toward individuals and couples choosing to delay parenthood until they have established their careers or pursued other priorities. Yet, research has consistently linked increasing male age with a longer time to achieve pregnancy and lower pregnancy rates. In fact, one study found that for men over 40, conception during a one-year period was 30% less likely for men younger than 30, even after adjusting for the female partner’s age.
Causes of age related male infertility
Older men are often trying to conceive with older female partners, who may have issues with egg quantity or quality. But regardless of the female partner’s age, a man’s age can have an effect on the quantity and quality of sperm.
A Louisiana male fertility specialist may perform a semen analysis in older men to look for decreases in several sperm parameters that are critical for fertilization to occur.
- Sperm concentration. The number of sperm in semen declines as men age.
- Sperm morphology. Older men may have a lower percentage of normally shaped sperm that are capable of penetrating an egg.
- Sperm motility. The sperm’s ability to swim normally decreases with advancing age.
- Sperm DNA fragmentation. As men age, the rate of DNA fragmentation in sperm increases, decreasing the chances of conception.
In addition to these age related male infertility factors, older men are at greater risk of having medical conditions that can contribute to infertility or sexual dysfunction, and they are more likely to have been exposed to smoking or other environmental toxins that can have a negative effect on their fertility. Some studies also suggest associations between the age of the male partner and the likelihood of birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage.
Additionally, men’s hormone levels change over time, including a decrease in testosterone levels starting at around age 40. Known as andropause, or low-T, this decline may cause a decrease in libido, which can also affect a man’s ability to help his partner conceive.
If you are a man older than 40 who has been trying to father a baby without success, it’s important to see a fertility specialist without delay. Age related male infertility only worsens with time, but with the right testing and treatment, many men can overcome male factor infertility and have a biological child later in life.
To learn more about age related male infertility, contact us to schedule an appointment with a Louisiana male fertility specialist.