Does The Age Of Men Make A Difference In IVF?
Despite the fact that a woman's age is a dominant factor affecting fertility, recent discoveries say that a man's age also has an impact on the effectiveness of an IVF treatment.
Men have longer fertile years than women
- With increasing age the sperms ability to fertilize an egg decreases
- Semen volume and sperm motility declines between 20-80
- Kids with fathers over 40 years of age are more likely to have autism
Age is not a barrier for a number of things. But for a man who wishes to have a baby through IVF, age might be a barrier. For years now it has been believed that male fertility has an indefinite life, unlike female fertility. While women stop reproducing after menopause (during 40s or 50s), men can continue to impregnate till old age. However, recent discoveries beg to differ. Despite the fact that a woman's age is a dominant factor affecting fertility, recent discoveries say that a man's age also has an impact on the effectiveness of an IVF treatment. It says that with increasing age, the sperm's ability to fertilize an egg via an IVF reduces. It also says that women with older male partners have a lower chance of conceiving a baby.
Also read: 6 Important Tips For A Successful IVF Treatment
How does age affect fertility?
Gynecologist Dr Rita Bakshi says, "While a man's age is not as important as a woman's age, the male counterpart loses its potential of reproduction after around 55 years. Till 55, they are quite fertile but after that their potential decreases. The ageing changes can be seen in sperm quality. Yet it is not unusual for a 70 year old man to impregnate. The potency and ability to perform declines with age and due to health conditions like hypertension, diabetes. Nevertheless, men continue to have longer fertile years than women. But if we look at only the age, then around 55-60 is when men go through andropause (menopause in men). This affects the sperm and fertility potential of men."
What is IVF treatment?
An IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment is an Assisted Reproductive Technology which helps a women conceive. In this procedure, the fertilization of egg takes place outside the body, in a Petri dish and is then implanted in a woman's uterus. The effectiveness of this procedure is subject to reproductive health and psychological factors. One such factor is the age of the male counterpart.
Also read: 7 Reasons For Secondary Infertility In Men Every Couple Must Know About
How does age affect the success rate of IVF treatment?
The reason why male age may affect the results of IVF treatment is the fact that sperm quality declines with age. After a certain age the sperm becomes too weak to fertilize the egg. In some extreme cases, it may not be able to fertilize the egg completely. If the age of the father is over 45, there is an increased risk of miscarriage as well.
With age, the sperm quality declines and may result in infertility
"If we take IVF into consideration, the age rules are 50 year old for women and 55 by man. This is when the partners are fertile and can have a successful IVF treatment. But after 55, if a man tries to go through IVF treatment, there is a good chance of failure," Dr Bakshi added.
Also read: 6 Foods That Hurt Male Fertility
Here are some facts associated with male fertility and age. Take a look:
1. On an average, it takes four months to conceive if the man is 25 or less. And if he is over 40, it may take as much as 2 years.
2. If the male counterpart is over 45, there is a five-fold increase in the time-taken for conception.
3. If the couple opts for IVF, the risk of not conceiving is five times higher if the male counterpart is over 41 years of age.
4. Semen volume and sperm motility declines between 20-80 years of age.
5. And men's age affects much more than female fertility. As a man gets older, his likelihood of having a healthy child also declines. Kids with fathers over 40 years of age are more likely to have autism spectrum disorder.
Also read: 5 Shocking Factors To Blame For Male Infertility: Tips To Overcome It
(Dr Rita Bakshi is Chairperson of the International Fertility Centre)
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