Heads Up, Perpetual Bachelors: Men Have Biological Clocks, Too

Fagjun | Published 2017-07-06 23:24

It's not just women who have a biological clock.

We've all probably heard it before: though women are unable to have children past a certain age, men can wait essentially as long as they want. While this statement isn't necessarily false, it does exclude a key detail about biological clocks and male fertility.

Fertility in women experience a sharp drop at about the age of 35. For most women, the chance of getting pregnant drops to 15-20% every month at this age. However, a new study has found that age may also affect fertility in men. This study is significant in that there have already been several studies whose focus is on female fertility. Studies on male fertility are much rarer.

Though many other men have proven that they can still become first-time fathers even at retirement age, researchers say that men may wait too long to have children as well. These findings can help couples in making the right decisions about starting a family.

A Matter of Numbers

Couples with age gaps may want to pay attention to the findings of this study.

Researchers analyzed the records of about 19,000 IVF treatment cycles to look into the impact of age on male fertility. They divided the women in these treatment cycles into four groups according to age: women under 30, between 30 to 35, between 35 to 40, and between 40 to 42. Men in the study had these same groupings, with an extra grouping for those who were over the age of 42.

Findings confirm what we already know about female biological clocks. The researchers found that the chances of having a live birth fell once women reached the age of 40 to 42, which isn't surprising. The age of the male partner didn't matter in these cases. However, the man's age did matter when it came to younger women. Women under the age of 30 whose partners were aged 30 to 35 had a 73% chance of having a live birth after IVF.

This figure is quite impressive. However, this falls to just 46% in couples in which the man is aged 40 to 42. The findings also reveal that for couples who are of the same age, the man's age doesn't have an impact on their chances of having a live birth. Meanwhile, women aged 40 to 45 whose partners were 30 to 35 had a 54% chance of successfully conceiving. If the men were under 30, couples had a 70% chance of conceiving.

When Biological Clocks Begin Ticking

Are kids in your future? It's something that couples may need to discuss with each other and with their doctors.

However, women in the 30 to 35 bracket whose partners were older had a 64% chance of having a baby. Women in this same bracket whose partners are of the same age have a 70% chance of successful conception. Thus, this shows that women with younger male partners, or partners of the same, have better chances at successful IVF. This also shows that as men grow older, their chances of successful conception lowers as well.

Couples should therefore consider the age not just of the woman, but of the man as well. Biological clocks tick for each person in a couple, and this is something that people should take note of when planning for a family. If you're a man who's getting kind of up there in years, it may be a good idea to think about where you stand in the matter of having children.

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