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The IVF Fertility Blog

The Biological Clock Issue

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal has revealed that the biological clock issue is no longer considered a concern exclusive to women.

The reproductive issues that can come along with older women trying to have children (ie. infertility or birth defects) have long been attributed to the woman's womb, which rids of unfertilized eggs from puberty to menopause.  Several current studies, however, including a 2009 study in Queensland, Australia and another in London, have shown a connection between paternal age and birth defects in children, unveiling that becoming older is as much of a concern for would-be fathers as it is for older women considering motherhood.

While it remains a fact that the amount and viability of a woman's eggs declines as she gets older, it is now understood that sperm also loses its luster as a man ages.  According to Dr. Harry Fisch, who penned "The Male Biological Clock," the health of sperm decreases as age increases, "As men get older, maybe there is some sperm available, but a lot of that DNA may be abnormal."  In serious cases, investigations into paternal age and birth defects have shown links between older fathers and dwarfism, Marfan syndrome, and Apert syndrome.

Although the linkages being made between paternal age and birth deficits are still in their beginning stages, the notion that the biological clock issue can cease to be solely a woman's burden is important.  It is accepted among women that their chances of infertility and other issues come hand in hand with older age, but conception still involves both parties, and partners can now acknowledge that older age is a factor to be considered by man and woman as they discuss parenthood.


Topics: Fertility, Mini-IVF, Research, Infertility

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