How age impacts semen quality
While female partners provide the egg needed for conception, men are responsible for sperm. However, semen quality can be a serious issue that can impede pregnancy goals. Even though popular culture has society believing that a man of any age can get a woman pregnant, the reality is that sperm quality also declines with age. A recent study found that a man’s sperm is most optimal for fertilization between ages 30-35. After age 55, sperm quality dropped significantly.
Understanding sperm motility
Additional factors can also influence conception odds. Specifically, good motility is critical for natural conception. The phrase refers to how easily the sperm can move and find the egg. As with overall quality, age also influences motility. While sperm quality is best in a man’s early 30s, motility before age 25 is best. Similarly, after age 55, motility declines significantly.
Aging and genetic conditions
Like female counterparts, men can also have a heightened risk of passing genetic conditions when fathering children at an older age. Additionally, just as in women, chromosomal abnormalities can be more likely with advanced paternal age. Pregnancies affected by chromosomal abnormalities are more likely to miscarry or be affected by a birth defect.
Fertility treatments as a workaround
When male factor infertility is at play, fertility treatments can be just as effective as in female populations with infertility. However, success rates can be lower in older populations. Still, many people are curious whether in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination are smart options. Of the 2, IVF tends to be the preferred option when low sperm count or quality is a concern. Specifically, a fertility specialist may recommend IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to conceive. During the process, a single sperm is injected into the egg to encourage fertilization.
Age influences conception
Even though most conversations around pregnancy almost exclusively target women, men have a central role to play as well. Understanding what issues using semen from an older man can cause, as well as possible alternatives to consider, can help a couple make an informed decision. Any man concerned about sperm quality should speak with a fertility specialist for an evaluation.