It is a popular belief that men can go on fathering children into their 60s and 70s. They could impregnate their wives as easily at 70 as when they are at 20. But a mounting body of evidence shows otherwise.
In a study of 2112 pregnant women in U.K .,it was found that when the man’s age was more than 45, it took him 5 times longer to achieve a pregnancy compared with a man aged 25 and below.
Another study examined patient’s records of more than 12,000 couples treated at a fertility clinic and separated out the influence of male and female ages on the couple’s chances of having a baby.
The pregnancy rates were lower if the husband was 40 and above. There were more miscarriages if he was 35 or older. This is due to deterioration of the quality of sperm with age. In 2004, German researchers reported the decline in the volume, motility (ability to move toward the egg), and genetic structures of sperm in ageing sperm.
There is also a significant impact of ageing sperm on the birth outcomes. In a study of more than 3400 cases of Down’s syndrome, it was found that advanced paternal age contributed to the risk when both parents were over 35 at the time of conception.
Children born to older men also run a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, a devastating mental disorder. In one study, researchers discovered that men between the ages of 45 to 49 were twice as likely to have children with schizophrenia as were men 25 and younger. The risk tripled for men over the age of 50.
More and more Singaporeans are getting married late .The decision of many men postponing their fatherhood may not be wise. These men should not take fertility for granted. Their biological clock is ticking away just the same as in their spouses.