It has often been said that women are the reason when couples have difficulty in getting pregnant, but recently it has become well known that there are cases of infertility due to male problems such as azoospermia (the medical condition of a man whose semen contains no sperm).
Even if there is no functional problem, it is possible that the pregnancy rate may decrease with “sperm aging”. Let’s learn about the “aging of the sperm” which is also considered a cause of infertility.
Senile aging begins at age 35
Because sperm are manufactured day by day, many men may not feel reproductive aging. Also, because there are celebrities in their 70’s who are blessed with children, it is assumed by many that if there is no problem in the reproductive function, men can make as many children as they want.
However, in a study conducted by a male infertility specialist, the ability of sperm to activate eggs tended to decrease from the age of 35 to the age of 40. The following data are listed in a large-scale survey targeting more than 5000 men.
- The number of sperm decreases by 1.71% each year since age 35
- The probability of spermatozoa increases with probability of 0.84% every year since age of 41
- Movement rate of sperm falls from age 44
In other words, as with the eggs, it turned out that sperm gradually declined around 35 years old.
What are the possible risks of sperm aging?
Originally, the role of sperm is to deliver the father ‘s DNA to eggs. However, as sperm ages, it may not reach the ovum and the ovum cannot be activated. The DNA itself may be damaged, so the following can be considered:
- Declining pregnancy rate
- Natural abortion
- Increase in the risk of babies getting disabled and sick
In the UK research, the average number of months that a couple trying to get pregnant was determined for each age of men, and the results reported that the period to pregnancy is prolonged as the age increases.
- Male in his twenties: six months
- Male in the early 30 to 40’s: 10 months
- Men in their late 40s: 19 months
- Male over 50 years old: 32 months
As you can see from these studies, men in their 50s take more than five times more months than the men in their twenties, therefore sperm aging is also related to infertility.
To prevent senescence from aging
Even so, unlike women, it is possible for men to cause pregnancy even if they become older if there is no problem in function. So, what is the difference between a man who is infertile and a sperm of a man who can become a father even at an older age?
In the study by the above male infertility specialist, the sperm of a man who has a child had the ability to activate eggs with a high value of 68 to 85% irrespective of age. In men suspected of infertility although there is no abnormality in semen examination, 62% in the late thirties, 52% in the first half of the 40s, 39% in the latter part of the 40s, the ability to activate the eggs decreases as the age rises.
In other words, there are individual differences in senile aging. In order to not lower the sperm power, it is better to be aware of the effects of the following habits on infertility.
Semen analysis in cigarette smokers revealed that, in general, men who smoke have lower semen volumes, sperm counts, and percentage of motile sperm, therefore probability of infertility and miscarriage increases for the couple.
Because sperm DNA will be cut out as it becomes older, poor quality sperm will increase.
- Wearing underwear with a very strong and tight fit
Since the testes are vulnerable to heat, if heat is trapped by underwear, the spermatogenic function is deteriorated. Beware of saunas and long baths.
- Personal computer operation on the knee
Temperature of the scrotum rises with the heat emitted from the PC, and there is a high possibility that it affects sperm.
- Sports type bicycle
Frequent riding disrupts the blood flow in the crotch, which may lead to blood vessel damage and prostate inflammation.
- Use of hair tonic
A remedy for male alopecia, hair tonic may contain ingredients that suppress the action of male hormones which may lead to infertility.
Male infertility is said to increase up to 48%. For males, it may be hard to have a baby when sperm count declines which starts to happen at 35 years old. Even if there is no problem with male function, you may want to take an examination together with your partner.