The Male Biological Clock Ticks, Too

Everyone knows all about the female biological clock. But what you might be less familiar with is that when it comes to making babies, guys don’t have all the time in the world, either. It’s not as obvious becuase men have successfully fathered children all the way into old age. But male fertility decreases with age, as does the ability to father healthy children. Here are a number of things you should know about.

Men do continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, but the male biological clock affects the amount, motility and quality of sperm produced. Pregnancy etc calls attention to some of the following  factors:

  • Erectile dysfunction: Testosterone drops after a man turns 25, which can lead to weight gain, which in turn results in more estrogen and less testosterone being produced in the man’s body. Added weight, especially around the middle, can contribute to heart disease which constricts blood flow. This can lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Sperm count: Men between the ages of 30 and 50 typically experience a 30% drop in sperm count.
  • Motility (how fast sperm swim): older sperm is 37% slower.
  • Sperm health: Older men produce sperm that is 5x as malformed as its younger counterparts.
  • Pregnancy: Research has shown that when a man is 45 and up, it takes the woman as much as five times as long to get pregnant.
  • Birth defects: Genetic conditions such as dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, and schizophrenia increase with paternal age.

There are things a man can do, in order to help preserve his sperm. Eating healthy, exercising, avoiding smoking, steroids, and hot tubs can all help. But no matter how healthy your habits are, the clock keeps ticking. According to the NY Times, these findings should “persuade many doctors that men should not be too cavalier about postponing marriage and children.”

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