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Biological Clock Strikes Men At Age 35

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 719 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... BIOLOGICAL CLOCK STRIKES FOR MEN TOO - AT AGE 35 By
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 2002
      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 719
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.


      By Mark Henderson and Patrick Barkham
      Times Online
      October 15, 2002


      Men who put their career before having a family should beware: the ticking
      of the biological clock is as important for fertility in men as it is in

      American scientists have discovered that genetic damage to sperm routinely
      starts to cause infertility in men as young as 35. The strongest biological
      evidence yet for a significant drop in male fertility in the late thirties
      is a warning to the increasing number of grey-haired fathers who are leaving
      it later to have children.

      The popular worry that career women risk losing the chance to have children
      has long been supported by infertility research focusing on how the quality
      of women's eggs deteriorates with age. Researchers from the University of
      Washington in Seattle have now provided the first firm molecular explanation
      for why childless career men should worry too. The chances of having a baby
      are reduced if the man is in his late thirties or forties.

      The study, led by Narendra Singh and unveiled at the American Society for
      Reproductive Medicine conference in Seattle today, examined the sperm of 60
      volunteers aged between 22 and 60. All the men had healthy sperm counts.

      Dr Singh's team found that, whatever the sperm count, its genetic quality
      was closely related to age, with a cut-off point for serious damage of about

      Men in the older group had higher concentrations of sperm with broken
      strands of DNA, more acute levels of such genetic damage and their immune
      systems were much less efficient at weeding out faulty sperm by programmed
      cell suicide, or apoptosis. The sperm of the older men were also less
      vigorous swimmers.

      Clare Brown, of the British infertility charity Child, said the findings
      cast new light on the often overlooked problem of male infertility.

      "About a third of all infertility is male factor," she said. "Male-factor
      infertility is more prevalent than people think. It's not generally in the
      public's mind that male sperm quality does indeed go down with age, from, as
      we now see, the age of 35."

      William Keye, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine,
      said that men concerned about their fertility should avoid activities such
      as smoking that may damage the DNA of their sperm. He added: "While there's
      nothing anyone can do about getting older, men who want to retain their own
      best capacity to father children should try to minimise contact with toxic
      agents and maintain a healthy lifestyle."

      The proportion of British men aged over 40 becoming fathers increased by
      half in the 1990s. In 1999 one in ten children was born to a father aged
      over 40. The number of children born to fathers over 40 has risen by nearly
      a third to 42,000 a year in the past 20 years. Older fathers include David
      Jason, who had his first child at 61, Tony Blair, John Humphrys, David Bowie
      and Mick Jagger. James Doohan ‹ Scotty from Star Trek ‹ was an 80-year-old
      great-grandfather when his wife gave birth to his seventh child.

      The findings do not suggest that most men who wait until after 35 to try for
      children will have problems, particularly if the man's partner is in her
      twenties or early thirties. But the study does alert fertility doctors to
      another potential problem when older couples have difficulty in conceiving.






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