It is well known that that female fertility declines with age. But while news stories about celebrities fathering children well into their sixties, or, as was recently the case with rocker Mick Jagger, their seventies, are not uncommon, it turns out there’s also a clear link between the male partner’s age and IVF treatment chances. The findings were presented during the 33rd Annual ESHRE meeting in Geneva in July of this year.
According to scientists, who examined almost 20 thousand IVF treatment cycles that took place in the USA from 2000 to 2014, birth rates for women in the same age group dropped as their partner’s age increased. For example, IVF success rates for women aged 35-40 decreased from 70 per cent with a younger partner to 54 per cent with a partner over the age of 40.
This isn’t the only study to reach such a conclusion. Data from the UK shows that couples where the male partner is over 40 are, on average, 30 per cent less likely to conceive during the first 12 months of trying.
Harvard’s Dr Laura Dodge, one of the researchers involved, adds that higher male age not only prolongs time to conception but is also associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. The exact causes have not yet been fully determined. While decrease in sperm quality is definitely one of the reasons, age-related diseases may also contribute to the decline in fertility. Meanwhile, she recommends that men worried about the quality of their sperm maintain a healthy lifestyle – eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
It should also be noted that despite the above, Dr Dodge explains that female age is still a much more prominent factor. According to the same study, the relative decrease in success rates between women below 30 and over 40 was 46%, more than double of that of men in the same age groups (20%).