When it comes to deciding the best time in life to try for children, it is easy to forget that a man’s age matters too. So often we remain fixated on a woman’s biological clock and fail to acknowledge that a man’s fertility also declines with age.
Here’s all the interesting and important fertility facts worth knowing if you’re considering delaying parenthood.
The celebrity factor
We’ve certainly seen our fair share of celebrities defy the laws of nature, producing offspring well into their senior years. It seems that everyone from ageing rockers Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger to silver screen foxes, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney are getting themselves some dad action later in life.
It is, however, important to look beyond these examples and consider it was likely not as easy as the sprawling headlines suggest and, for each success story, there are many others who try and fail.
Decline in sperm quality
It is important to realise that sperm quality decreases with age, so much so that the chance of conceiving within a year is halved when the father is over the age of 35 compared to when he is aged 25 or younger.
Your Fertility explains “the volume of a man’s semen and sperm motility (the ability of sperm to move towards an egg) decrease continually between the ages of 20 and 80”.
Just as women over 40 face an uphill battle to conceive a child, it can take men aged over 40 up to two years to father a child compared to the average 4.5 months it would take when they are under 25. And that’s when he is trying to conceive with a woman aged 25 or under.
Once the man’s age surpasses 45, the time to pregnancy increases five-fold.
Miscarriage risk increases
Even if you manage to overcome all the odds to conception, there is still an increased risk of miscarriage.
“The risk of miscarriage is twice as high for women whose male partner is aged over 45 than for those whose partners are under 25,” Your Fertility explains.
Risk to baby
With more and more women are delaying children until later in life, there is plenty of discussion around the increased risks of baby being born with Down Syndrome or other chromosomal issues if she conceives over the age of 40.
But, did you know children are more than five times as likely to have an autism spectrum disorder if there dad is aged 40 plus compared to if he was aged under 30?
Dads can rock at any age
Your bones might creak a little more and you might have to face the odd time where strangers mistake you for your child’s grandfather, but there’s nothing saying you can’t be a great dad at any age.
It is just worth remembering there really is no time like the present if you are wanting to start a family.