How Male Fertility Declines With Age

How to Improve Your Fertility as You Get Older

Mature couple lying on bed
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Most men know that women's fertility declines after the age of 35, but many men are not aware that their age can affect their ability to become a parent, too. While less is known about male fertility and age, there is increasing evidence that the older a man becomes, the more his fertility diminishes. You can't change your age, but you can arm yourself with the knowledge to improve your chances of successfully having a family.

Aging and Male Fertility Statistics

It is not impossible for older men to father children, in fact, many men remain fertile until they are 60. But conceiving does become more difficult and complicated as you age.

  • It takes longer: If a man is over and the woman is under 25, it can take about two years to get pregnant. On the other hand, if both partners are under 25, it takes just over 4.5 months, on average.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) becomes more challenging: The risk of not having a baby after IVF is more than five times higher if the male partner is 41 years old or older.
  • Semen volume decreases with age: The amount of semen a man produces, as well as the sperm's ability to move towards an egg, decreases continually starting at the age of 20.
  • There's a higher risk of miscarriage: Believe it or not, a father's age can even impact the likelihood of the baby surviving in the womb. The risk of the woman having a miscarriage is twice as high with a male partner over the age of 45 as it is with a male partner under 25.
  • Autism risk increases: Children fathered by men older than 40 are more than five times as likely to have an autism spectrum disorder than those fathered by men under 30. 

If a man is over 45 years old, it can take five times as long to conceive as for a man under 25.

How to Improve Your Fertility

Luckily, while you may experience a decline in fertility the older you get, there are things you can do to improve fertility as you age.

  • Eat healthfully and exercise: Obesity can contribute to infertility in men, and eating a healthy diet and being more active can reverse some fertility problems associated with obesity. In addition, losing weight can increase sperm count. Healthy diet and exercise can turn into a form of fertility therapy in itself.
  • Consider lifestyle changes: Severe stress, alcohol, smoking and the use of hard drugs can all affect your sperm count. If any of these habits are part of your lifestyle, working toward changing them could increase your chances of remaining fertile as you age.
  • See a specialist: Fertility specialists are not just beneficial for women. If you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving, a specialist can help you combat age-related fertility issues and go through some testing.
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Article Sources

  • Australia Fertility Coalition. (n.d.). A man’s age matters.

  • BabyCentre. (2012, May). Dads: How your age can affect your fertility and your baby's health.