Dad’s age affects IVF results as much as mum’s: study
Since men do not undergo a detectable decline in fertility like women, till now women’s ages were considered the dominant indicator of a couple’s chance of conception, whether natural or assisted. A new study has found increasing age in men affects their chances of becoming a father using IVF as much as it affects a woman’s chances of getting pregnant .Updated: Jul 04, 2017 11:54 IST
Increasing age in men affects their chances of becoming a father as much as it affects a woman’s chances of getting pregnant , a new study has found.
Since men do not undergo a predictable and detectable decline in their fertility like women, female age was been considered the dominant indicator of a couple’s chance of conception, whether natural or assisted.
A new study of IVF couples at the Harvard Medical School shows quite clearly that live-birth outcome are clearly affected by the age of the male partner.
Also, in certain younger women where the effect of age is less potent, the chances of a live birth can be lowered if the man is much older.
“Our study found an independent effect of male age on the cumulative incidence of live birth,” said investigator Dr Laura Dodge from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, who presented the study on Tuesday at the Annual Meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Geneva.
The study was an analysis of all IVF cycles performed at a large IVF centre in the Boston region between 2000 and 2014, a total of almost 19,000 cycles performed in 7753 couples.
The female partners in these cycles were stratified according to four age bands: under 30, 30-35 years, 35-40 years, and 40-42. Men were stratified into these same four age bands, with an additional band of 42 and over.
As expected, the cumulative live birth rate (measured from up to six cycles of treatment) was lowest in those couples where the female partner was in the 40-42 age band, and in this group the age of the male partner had no impact, demonstrating the dominant detrimental effect of female age.
However, within the other bands of female age, the cumulative incidence of live birth was significantly affected by male partner age and was found to decline as the man grew older.
For example, in couples with a female partner aged under 30, a male partner aged 40-42 was associated with a significantly lower cumulative birth rate (46%) than a male partner aged 30-35 (73%). Similarly, in couples with a female partner aged 35-40 years live birth rates were higher with a younger than with an older male partner.
In natural conception, increasing male age is associated with a decreased incidence of pregnancy, increased time to pregnancy, and increased risk of miscarriage.
The mechanisms though unclear, may include impaired semen parameters, increased DNA damage in sperm, and epigenetic alterations in sperm that affect fertilisation, implantation, or embryo development.
“Most preconception advice for men focuses on semen quality, though studies suggest that this likely cannot fully ameliorate the effects of male reproductive ageing. So in the absence of clear evidence of the mechanisms, the best preconception advice we can offer is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”