Age unquestionably plays a role in male fertility, although it tends to be less talked about compared to its impact on female fertility. As men age, their fertility does decline, however, this happens at a slower and more gradual rate than in women. However, studies have shown that increasing male age is associated with an increased time to conception and decreased pregnancy rates.

Male Age And Fertility

Here at Carolinas Fertility Institute, we know that understanding how age affects male fertility is crucial for individuals and couples planning to start a family. To learn more about how age can influence male fertility, continue reading. 

Sperm Quantity and Quality

Aging affects the quantity and quality of sperm. Unlike women, men continually produce sperm throughout their lives, but the production declines with age. As men get older, the volume of semen decreases, and the number of sperm per ejaculate reduces. Male fertility generally starts to decline around age 40 to 45 years. Moreover, older men may experience a decline in the movement and shape of sperm, affecting their ability to fertilize an egg.

Sperm Analysis

Various tests are used to evaluate sperm quality, such as sperm count, motility, and morphology, which tend to decline as men age. A decline in these can significantly impact male fertility. Lower sperm count and motility can reduce the likelihood of successful fertilization, making it more challenging for couples to conceive.

Genetic Abnormalities

Advancing age increases the risk of genetic abnormalities in sperm. Older men have a higher chance of producing sperm with genetic mutations or chromosomal abnormalities, which can lead to developmental disorders or health issues in their children. Research shows that conditions like Down syndrome are more prevalent in children born to older fathers.

Erectile Function

While not directly related to male fertility, age can influence erectile function, which is a man’s ability to get an erection before sexual intercourse. Aging can result in a decrease in testosterone levels, impacting sexual desire and performance. Erectile dysfunction (ED) becomes more prevalent with age and can be caused by a number of different factors, such as a man’s circulatory system, nervous system, or endocrine system. 

Time To Pregnancy

Research suggests that increasing paternal age is associated with delayed conception. Couples with older male partners may take longer to conceive compared to those with younger partners. This delay in conception may be attributed to the decreased sperm quality and quantity, which can affect the chances of successful fertilization.

Risk Of Miscarriage

Those with older male partners may be at an increased risk of miscarriage. Research indicates that when the father is older, the risk of pregnancy loss rises. In fact, the risk of spontaneous miscarriage was 1.27 times increased for fathers with a paternal age of 35 years and more.

Male Biological Clock

The concept of a male biological clock, similar to the female biological clock, suggests that there’s an optimal time for men to try and conceive. Waiting too long to start a family may decrease the chances of conception and increase the risk of fertility-related challenges. Many believe that the male biological clock starts ticking around age 40. This is because, by the time a man reaches 40 years of age, the quality of sperm seems to begin decreasing.

Although the female biological clock is more prevalent in fertility conversations, the age of the father can affect conception. At Carolinas Fertility Institute, we are dedicated to helping you build your family with personalized care and attention. We provide the latest and most technologically advanced treatment options for fertility. If you are struggling to get pregnant, or have more questions about age and male fertility, we can work with you to devise a personalized treatment plan. Call us at (336) 448-9100 to make an appointment in the Triad or (844) 686-2233 for our Charlotte office.