Women are often criticised for leaving it too late to have children, but could you man’s age affect your chances of conceiving, too?
You’re trying to conceive and have gone through every factor in the book. You’ve used the ovulation calculator, started taking folic acid and gone into full baby making sex schedule mode. Chances are you’ve worried about the effect of age too. Your age. But perhaps your partner’s age could be a factor you need to tackle, too.
When are men most fertile?
‘Men are most fertile when they are under 25,’ says Rami Wakim, consultant in reproductive medicine at Harley Street Fertility Clinic. ‘At this age 95 per cent of his sperm does not contain DNA damage. By the age of 35, that percentage has grown to 20 per cent.’
But perhaps your partner’s age could be a factor you need to tackle, too.
That's a four-fold increase in just 10 years. As the percentage of damaged sperm increases, the chance of you getting pregnant fall.
‘Between the ages of 30 and 50, a man's sperm has been shown to typically decline by 15 per cent in volume, decrease in overall motility by 25 per cent and the fraction of normal sperm in the sample to decline by 15 per cent,’ adds Rami.
What can older men do to boost their fertility?
The good news is that there are lots of things that men can do to improve their fertility levels.
Keeping fit and having a good diet is key. Getting your partner to include plenty of folic acid in his diet or take a supplement.
‘Zinc, selenium, vitamin D, antioxidants, vitamin C, citric acid, L-Carnitine, fructose and B12 are also important,’ says Rami. While antioxidants are thought to increase sperm count, multivitamins have been linked to a healthy sperm production.
A study last year showed that carrots are a brilliant new fertility super food for men – it’s the new side dish of choice.
Keeping up a good fitness regime is also advised. This will help keep the body in shape and the organs fit and healthy. And of course, keep practicing to conceive!
But there are a couple of activities that your partner should cut down on. ‘Smoking is associated with reduced sperm quality,’ says Rami. ‘Also, men should be advised that excessive alcohol intake is detrimental to sperm quality.’ But your partner doesn’t have to cut out alcohol entirely, as the recommendation is to limit his intake to three to four units per day.
How can men find out how fertile they are?
If you’re struggling to conceive, it’s important that your partner gets tested, as well as you.
‘A simple semen analysis is the most critical test to evaluate someone fertility evaluation,’ says Rami. From there, your fertility doctor will advise whether fertility treatments are a good next step for you.
Did your partner’s fertility affect how long it took you to get pregnant? Let us know below.