Research has long focused it's efforts on analysing the female body when it comes to fertility, but new research may change that.
While the biological clock concept isn't new for women, it's still a relatively unheard of idea for men considering having children. A new study published in the journal Maturitas advises men to bank their sperm before reaching an "advanced paternal age”.
Above the age of 35 or 45 in medical fields is classed as an advanced paternal age, as men older than this may experienced decreased fertility according to the study.
The research also implies that older men put their female partners at a higher risk of pregnancy and birthing conditions, such as preterm birth and pre-eclampsia.
Infants born to older dads may also be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with conditions such as newborn seizures, low birth weight and congenital heart disease.
The study reviewed 40 years of research to discover more medical information about the effects of paternal age on fertility, pregnancy and children's health.
Some children with dads over 35 appeared to be more likely to develop certain cancers and cognitive disorders, such as autism.
Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and lead author of the study, stated;
“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."
“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.”
Bachmann thinks that the reason for this is the natural decline in testosterone levels men experience as they get older, in addition to a reduction in semen quality.
The study found that, when men age, they become more predisposed to sperm degradation. This can lead to hereditary mutations in the DNA cells of the offspring during conception
“Although it is well documented that children of older fathers are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia- one in 141 infants with fathers under 25 versus one in 47 with fathers over 50- the reason is not well understood,” Bachmann says.
“Also, some studies have shown that the risk of autism starts to increase when the father is 30, plateaus after 40 and then increases again at 50.”
Women tend to be more active with their reproductive health than man, who likely wouldn't see a GP unless there is an obvious fertility issue.
Science Daily reports the obstetrics and gynaecology specialist suggests that men who intend to delay fatherhood should consider banking sperm before they reach the age of 35 to decrease the chances of health complications.
Bachmann’s study is similar to one published in November 2018, conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine. Fathers older than 35 were found to be at a higher risk for complications in this study also.