A woman’s biological clock is directly related to her ability to become pregnant and have children. Biologically, a woman is best equipped to become pregnant before age 35. After age 35, her natural fertility begins to decline. This means that while she still can become pregnant, the process to do so may take longer and may be more difficult. For many years, the biological clock was thought of as women’s issue. However, recent research indicates that men have biological clocks as well. A man’s biological clock can impact both his fertility levels and the health of the children he helps to produce.
As people age, their bodies begin to function differently – particularly in how hormones are produced in the body. As a man ages, he produces lower levels of the hormones required for semen production and fertility. Testosterone, DHEA, estrogen and FSH are all required for fertility and decline as a man ages. These declines can result in reduced sperm counts and higher percentages of abnormal sperm.
The results of the change in male fertility has several impacts. As a man gets older it will be more difficult to conceive naturally. Additionally, the trend with sperm quality and aging can also be seen during fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization. Furthermore, men who are older are more likely to have a child that is lost to miscarriage. This is true even if the child’s mother is young and has no other health issues. These findings stand in stark contrast with the widely held belief that male fertility is not impacted by age because men produce sperm on a daily basis.
Research indicates that there is a link between the age of a child’s father and the likelihood of developing birth defects. Specifically, having an older father raises the risk of having a child with autism. Due to these new findings, researchers are taking a hard look at birth defects that were thought of as resulting due to issues within the mother.
Living well is the most important thing a man can do to improve his fertility and the quality of his sperm. This includes eating well-balanced meals and exercising regularly. Getting to a healthy weight and maintaining that weight is also key. Furthermore, annual physical exams help to discover issues before they become major problems, thus improving a man’s health and his ability to reproduce.
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