Previously, we thought that only female age factor is important for pregnancy. But recent medical approach stated that biological clock is clicking for the male individual also. Delay fatherhood may affect the child as well as the partner’s health also. Journal Maturitas published a research review articles considering 40 years of research studies conducted to evaluate the parental age factor on pregnancy, child health, and fertility outcome.
Clinically it is well accepted female fertility is started declining after 35 years of age due to physiological changes. This diminishing fertility affects conception, pregnancy, and the health of the child. Many years we have ignored the impact of advanced age paternal factor. Gloria Bachmann, the director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, first showed this concern.
There is no definite paternal advanced age limit has detected. However, it is expected it starts in between the age of 35 years to 40 years. Nowadays, it is common for a male individual to achieve their fatherhood after 45 years of age by opting the assisted reproductive technology.
A research study has reported that 45 years or older aged male members have decreased fertility. This increases the pregnancy complications by inducing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia to their partner. Preterm birth is also a common outcome. Old age paternity is harmful to the born child, as it increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight. The prevalence of newborn seizures attacks and congenital defects such as cleft palate, congenital heart disease may associate with later paternity. These children have a higher risk to develop childhood cancers, cognitive disorders, psychiatric problems, and autism.
According to Bachmann’s assumption, these unwanted pregnancy outcomes occur due to the age-related declination of testosterone level and poor sperm quality. However, these consequences require more detail research for precise findings. It is obvious that male individuals lose their muscular strength, endurance, flexibility with increasing their age. Similar age-related negative consequences must occur in sperm health and semen quality.
The DNA of offspring is generated from the incorporation of the mother’s egg and father’s sperm. Age-related enhancement of stress gives a negative impact on sperm. Low sperm count and alternation of sperm physiology also transferred from male partner to their offspring. Therefore, age-related declined sperm and egg quality have equally responsible for faulty DNA structure of offspring and increase the pregnancy risk.
Advancing paternal age is also a contributing factor of heredity mutations, which causes many heredity disorders to the offspring. The two common disorders are schizophrenia and autism. Research findings also supported that the risk of schizophrenia and autism developed in children usually have a common connection with late fatherhood. Older aged male partner gets difficulty to make love with her younger aged partner due to their declined fertility issues.
But declining male fertility with age is less discussed, as people unaware of these issues. Male partner usually ignores such discussion also and do not want to discuss with clinicians. Therefore, the reported male case history is less than female age-related fertility issues.
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Physicians need to take the responsibility to counsel male members about these common age-related issues and alert them the negative consequences of delayed pregnancy. In case of any male member wants to delay his fatherhood, then the safest option is to opt sperm banking before his 35 years of age. Male member reduces the maternal risk and negative pregnancy outcome by starting their family before 45 years of age.
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Ravi Sharma is the director at ARTbaby Global (ARThealthcare). And a successful pharmacist and a marketer. He loves to write about IVF, Surrogacy and other ART (assisted reproductive technology) news, issues, and updates. He is a Pharmacy graduate (B. Pharm) and M.B.A (marketing).