Often serving as a barrier, age, unfortunately, affects most of the things we do in life. Being old enough to drive, legally drink, rent a car and buy a home are some of the things we look forward to when discussing age. The tone of the conversation tends to switch when talking about topics such as health and reproduction. While a woman’s age is very important when considering fertility, a man’s age matters as well. Since you cannot control your own or your partner’s age, here are some things to consider when having the “kids” talk.
Before diving into the factors of fertility, many people assume that a man can conceive a child at any age. While there are cases of men fathering children well into their golden years, a majority of men naturally become infertile long before that. Often attributed to the female partner, men and women both account for an equal 35% of infertility cases in the United States.
Fertility Factors in Men
The overall quality of a man’s sperm decreases with age. As men get older, the chances of successfully conceiving a child become harder to achieve. Viable sperm becomes fewer and far between, which may result in a longer amount of time for the female partner to become pregnant. Although semen and sperm motility (the ability of sperm to move towards an egg) begin to decrease as early as 20 years old, the typical age for male infertility usually begins around 40-45 years old when sperm quality decreases.
The exact physiology for declining testosterone has not been established, but testosterone levels decrease in what is termed the andropause. This decline is initiated at approximately age 40. Due to this reduced count, viable pregnancies often take longer to conceive and result in higher chances of the child developing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders later in life. Children fathered by men over 40 are also five times more likely to be diagnosed on the autism spectrum than those under 30. For couples considering In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the risk of not conceiving a child is also more than five times higher for men over 40. Increased chances of a miscarriage are also more prominent in couples with older male partners.
Fertility Factors in Women
Women also face challenges with fertility as they age. Beginning years before the onset of menopause, the average age for decreasing chances of fertility occurs around 35 years old. Although there is no distinct biological reason for this, women who try to conceive later in life face a multitude of potential health problems. For reference, a 25-year-old woman has about a 25 percent chance of becoming pregnant. This percentage begins to drop in the late twenties and decreases more significantly in the mid and late thirties, until age 40 when a woman has about a five percent chance of conceiving per cycle. These statistics may sound alarming but simply put – a younger woman is more likely to get pregnant in fewer cycles.
Age not only affects a woman’s ability to conceive but additionally the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Chromosomal abnormalities, the cause of more than half of all miscarriages, are more likely to develop as we age. Increased chances of Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and Turner syndrome are among a few of the chromosomal disorders to be aware of.
Fertility Treatment in New Jersey
If you or someone you know is considering having children but are concerned about fertility, look no further. Ron S Israeli MD, PC has decades of experience assisting couples to achieve their goal with compassionate urological services. For the best results, contact us today to schedule your consultation visit. After determining your fertility rate, Dr. Israeli will develop a thorough plan to help you and your partner build the family you’ve always dreamed of!