Problems with fertility have always been associated with women, particularly women of a certain age. But contrary to popular belief that men are fertile more or less throughout their entire lives, research has shown that age can also affect a man’s ability to be fertile.
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A scientific study carried out at Soroka University in Israel examined the semen quality and quantity of men of varying ages to compare the differences. The frequency of sexual activity (how often the men had sex) was also compared and it was found that that also had an impact of the quality of semen. Abstaining from sex completely also had a marked impact on the quality and quantity of sperm, while some believed the less sex you had the more fertile you would become, the lesser the frequency of sex the poorer the sperm motility (movement of sperm).
Results of the study conducted showed that the quantity of sperm was at its greatest in men in their early to mid-thirties. Sperm quantity was at its lowest in a man of 55 and over. Sperm motility was said to be at its best in young adults fewer than 25 and at it’s lowest in men over the age of 55 with a 54% decrease in sperm motility. In this case, it did not matter how often the men had sex, men over the age of 55 have a definite lack of quality, quantity and poor sperm motility.
Age is also found to affect the genetics of male sperm. A study carried out at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of California showed that the likelihood of defects in sperm is doubled the older a man gets. This can cause lesser fertility, birth defects and making it more possible for miscarriage. Men fathering children later in life are more likely to pass on genetic problems to their children.
Another additional study conducted in Israel at the Assuta Medical Center in Rishon LeZion showed that IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) a treatment where egg cells can be fertilised by sperm outside the body, was more successful in men under 40. This suggests that over the age of 40, the quality of sperm is particularly poor and therefore IVF treatment has a higher chance of failure even if donor eggs are used. The age of the woman made no significant difference.
This goes to show that just like women have a biological clock so do men and that age certainly does affect the quality, quantity and motility of sperm as well as the chances of fathering a child.