TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Just because a guy can make babies later in life doesn’t mean it’s risk-free.
“While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realize their advanced age can have a similar impact,” said study author Gloria Bachmann. She’s director of the Rutgers University Women’s Health Institute in New Jersey.
The investigators found that men aged 45 and older can have decreased fertility. Their partners may be at increased risk for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth.
Infants born to older fathers have lower Apgar scores (an assessment of health after birth) and a higher risk of premature birth, late still birth, low birth weight, newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate, according to the review.
“In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with aging,” Bachmann explained in a university news release.
“For example, just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose ‘fitness‘ over the life cycle,” she said.
In the past 40 years, there has been a 10% increase in the United States in infants born to fathers older than 45.
Men who plan to delay fatherhood should consider banking sperm before age 35, or at least by age 45, to reduce the health risks to their partners and children, she suggested.
The study was released online in advance of publication in the July issue of the journal Maturitas.
— Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, May 2019