What do Charlie Chaplin, Robert DeNiro, Pablo Picasso and Steve Martin have in common? All of these men fathered children in their late 60’s or early 70’s. In fact, Steve Martin recently became a father for the first time at the age of 67. Somehow celebrities have a knack for making the improbable happen, but is the average man actually fertile into his 70’s?
Dr. James Douglas with IVF Plano points out that men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, but is it reasonable to push fatherhood off until retirement age?
In 1970, less than 15 percent of all men fathering children were over 35. Today, that number has risen to almost 25 percent. While it has become more socially acceptable to put off fatherhood, experts encourage a couple to consider the risks before proceeding.
While most women are very aware of their ticking biological clock, not many men know the impact their age has on infertility. A study reported in American Journal of Gynecology found that after the age of 35, a man’s chances of fathering a child decrease with each passing year. There is now a lot more evidence showing that the age of the man at conception affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Paternal age is now considered significant.
As men age, so, too, do their sperm. Another study published in Human Reproduction Update confirmed the previously mentioned report, adding additional data on aging sperm. Results showed that the volume, motility and structure of sperm all decline with age. Studies have shown a direct correlation between sperm age and the increased chance of miscarriage, birth defects and other health concerns.
A fertility specialist cannot ignore a man’s age when assessing infertility. Although it may be possible for some men to impregnate their partner at the age of 70, it is not without risk.
Dr. Douglas treats women and couples to help maximize their chances for getting pregnant. Contact IVF Plano for a consultation and a plan for making the most of your reproductive years.