Does Age Affect Male Fertility?
Infertility affects women and men equally, but does age affect male fertility the same way it impacts women? Studies have shown that male fertility does begin to decline as men age, however, it does not have a significant effect until age 40-45 when sperm quality decreases.
Male Age and IVF Success
A recent well controlled study of over 4,000 frozen embryo transfers did not show a difference in pregnancy rates or delivery rates when an embryo was derived from men over 40 or from those under 40. Patients who had an embryo transfer of a chromosomally normal embryo were divided into paternal ages less than 40 years old and those greater than or equal to 40 years old; the age of the women was standardized so that the effect of the woman’s age did not confound the results. All embryos at the blastocyst stage were tested with Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) to determine which embryo had all normal chromosomes.
The results of this study revealed that sperm parameters and fertilization rates were not different in men under 40 and those over 40 (both 85%). In addition, and most importantly, the pregnancy rates (82%) and delivery rates (60%) were also statistically no different in both groups.
The embryos created from men over the age of 40 did reveal a slight decrease in the embryos growing to a blastocyst stage (50.6% vs. 56.4%). In addition to the lower chance of the embryos growing to a blastocyst, stage the number of chromosomally normal embryos was slightly decreased in the embryos derived for men over age 40 (62.9% vs. 71.1%).
In this very large well controlled study, it was reassuring that the fertilization, pregnancy and delivery rates were the same in men over age 40 and under age 40; the slightly lower chance of the embryos which grew to blastocysts and a slightly lower number of chromosomally normal embryos in the men over 40 is consistent with previous studies.
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