What Does His Age Have To Do With Things? | Texas Fertility Center Blog

Natalie Burger, M.D.

What Does His Age Have To Do With Things?

by | November 4, 2010

 It is well known that a woman’s age has a large impact on her fertility.  However, what impact does a man’s age have on his partner’s fertility and pregnancy?  Recent research tells us that the father’s age impacts these issues, though the overall effect is quite modest compared to the effect to that of the mother.  

In contrast to women (who are born with all the eggs they will ever have), men continue to make sperm throughout their life.  As men age, the volume of their ejaculate goes down, as does the percentage of normal-appearing sperm in their ejaculate.  However, this does not necessarily correlate with a decrease in ability to father a child. 

Interestingly enough, advanced paternal age (> 40 years) may be linked to a slightly increased risk of miscarriage.  Also, there appears to be a slightly higher birth defect rate in couples with older fathers.  In addition, there may be slight increases in the risk of schizophrenia and autism in offspring of older fathers. 

To avoid even slight risks, it would reasonable for men to consider the completion of childbearing with their partner by the age of 40.  However, keep in mind that the risks associated with fathering a child at a later age indeed appear to be minimal

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Natalie Burger, M.D.

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Dr. Burger received her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a minor in Mathematics. She attended medical school at Medical College of Georgia and completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Vermont. She also received her fellowship training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Vermont. Dr. Burger is Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility.

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