The biological clock question is rarely asked and it is assumed that men will remain fertile forever hence, the onus of pregnancy always was on women where from time immemorial, women were expected to reproduce as soon as possible and the pressure was accelerated when a woman crossed 30 years but men were never asked. In couples with no kids, men were not tested and only women were tested and blamed but as more number of semen examinations are performed, a greater insight in effect of biological age on men’s fertility potential is found.
In an interview with HT LIfestyle, Dr Chetna Jain, Director Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Gurgaon, shared, “New studies believe that male fertility begins to decline between the ages 35 to 45 years. With passing years, the formation of sperms becomes slower and less efficient, meaning counts drop, and there is a rise in genetic abnormalities, miscarriages and still births. It is surprising to find that advanced paternal age at conception can cause diabetes and high blood pressure, preterm births, in mother and autism and schizophrenia in the child.”
She asserted, “When men are not ready to have kids at a younger age, just like women freezing their eggs, men should consider freezing and storing semen (sperms) for future use. Men who are planning to do sterilization can also consider this option. As men age, usually after 30, there is a decline in testosterone and estrogen, and the levels of FSH and LH rise. This leads to a greater number of abnormal sperms that have fragmented or broken DNA. When the fragmentation is more than 40%, the embryos formed are weak. With passing age, a greater number of abnormal embryos are formed, and thereby, chances of abnormal baby increases. Advanced age in men can also affect erection and can lead to premature ejaculation. This affects overall fertility. Along with biological age, other factors that contribute to male fertility are smoking,alcohol, drug abuse, radiation, and oxidative damage. The accumulation increases with advancing age, further deteriorating the sperms.”
What should men do?
Dr Chetna Jain suggested –
- Eat healthy
- Exercise regularly, including cardio
- Avoid smoking and drugs
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Avoid steroids – this is the most prominent cause, noted specially in Gym goers
- Control blood pressure
- Avoid heat exposure to genitals by not keeping laptops on laps, using sauna or hot tubs
- Avoid exposure to lead, cadmium, pesticides, and radiation
- Maintain regular sexual activity
Dr Chetna Jain concluded, “When Hollywood stars like Richard Gere becomes a father at 69 and Robert De Niro becomes father at 79, as influencers, they send a wrong message to people at large. Bringing up a child at that advanced paternal age does not cause justice to the father, mother and child. We just know the tip of iceberg. As more studies look into father’s age and its effect on fertility, we will get to know more information on paternal age and its detrimental effect on fertility and offspring. Till then encourage men to have kids at a younger age at least before 45.”
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com