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Impact Of Aging On Male Fertility


Written by:
Steve Taylor
Any debate on advancing age and its effects on fertility has always been linked to women as if men do not get impacted at all. This understanding or the lack of it has been exposed thoroughly and research indicates that men too experience significant changes related to fertility in terms of decreasing sperm count and motility as they grow older.

This is a result of the physiological changes that are inevitable and one of them takes place in the form of the reduction of the testicular mass. Simultaneously, there is also a decrease in the testosterone level, the seminal tubes lose their resilience and with the epididymis and the prostate glands shedding cells; the pace of sperm production definitely takes a hit.

To compound the above problems, one out of two men suffer from a benign prostate condition which may not be dangerous to life but seriously inhibits the motility of sperms leading to lesser probability of the egg getting fertilized. Advancing age also weakens the muscles accountable for ejaculation; with the result the sperms ejaculated do not have the legs in them to reach the egg. It is a paradox that despite these problems, semen characteristics continue to remain very much within the standard norms and do not reflect major changes.

Another significant development that has been noticed is the DNA duplication process running into errors and that is the primary reason that semen donation has been restricted till the age of 40, as it has been discovered that the sperm cells of a man in his late forties would undergo far greater divisions as compared to an individual in his twenties.
Certain other complications like the Marfan syndrome, which is a genetic disorder associated with the connective tissue, causing abnormally long limbs and Apert Syndrome, which leads to deformities in the skull, face are known to occur in the offspring fathered by males over 45.

It is an accepted fact that aging by itself does not impact the sexual performance or thwarts a person from becoming a father. It is not the physical aspect that gets affected due to age but problems that are caused due to medication or mental factors that may precipitate a decline in the fertility levels. A case in point is impotence which may be due to some medications being taken for hypertension or diabetes; affecting the sexual performance of an otherwise healthy person. Such individuals need to consult their physician for an alternative mode of treatment.

Low libido due to reduction in testosterone levels, impotence and lack of understanding among the partners invariably causes a lower sex drive which in turn impacts fertility and need to be addressed accordingly. Research has revealed that the ability to have a satisfactory sexual life in the middle years of an individual often determines his sexual performance in his later years, influencing his capability to father children at that age.

Decreasing testosterone levels seriously affects fertility and manifests itself in the form of abnormal weight gain, insomnia, lack of self confidence, anxiety, problems with memory and even loss of hair. The problem needs to be tackled from different perspectives and only then can a practical solution emerge.

It would be incorrect to ascribe loss of fertility to male menopause, as various other reasons like stress, medication in addition to aging also play their part in negatively impacting male fertility. The key to maintain a top physical and physiological state is to indulge in regular exercise, minimize stress and seek timely medical advice. While the subject of male fertility demands far greater attention and research, current information borne out of extensive study shows that men can and do have the capability to father children even in their later years.

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