The Male Biological Clock: Fact of Fiction?
This month, March Madness teams take to the basketball court. Dr. Dan Gehlbach graduated from the University of Kansas medical school, and supports the Kansas Jayhawks on their Road to the Final Four. As we watch exciting finishes—many that come down to the buzzer—we want to remind future fathers to watch the clock, too.
We know that women have an easier time getting pregnant in their 20s and early 30s, but what about men? Can they postpone building the “home team” until later in life? Dr. Gehlbach advises his patients to factor in sperm age as they plan for a family. Men can conceive children well into old age. In fact, the world’s oldest dad was 96 when his son was born.
Sperm production continues throughout a man’s lifetime, allowing men to become fathers at nearly any age. However, sperm quality begins to deteriorate over time. Every man is different, depending on health habits and heredity, but studies now link genetic abnormalities to sperm age.
- Starting at age 45, schizophrenia becomes more prevalent.
- After age 40, men are six times more likely to have a child with autism.
- When both partners are over 35, Down’s syndrome occurrences increase.
The bottom line: Men can become fathers at nearly any age past puberty, but should they take the risk later in life?
Beyond Male Age and Infertility
Dr. Gehlbach treats couples experiencing infertility, and male factors come into play in nearly half of all cases. Sperm disorders, anatomical barriers such as blocked sperm ducts and varicocele will require targeted male infertility treatment at a urology practice.
In addition, wait too long to start a family and now you have maternal age to contend with as well. Women over 40 have a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant in any given month.
Midwest Reproductive Center reminds men to get off the bench and make a game plan for starting a family. For 1 in 7 couples, getting pregnant will take longer than they imagined, and that’s where a fertility specialist can offer the assist. Contact us for a consultation with Dr. Dan Gehlbach at the Olathe office of Midwest Reproductive Center.