It’s widely known that Charlie Chaplin became a father at 73, but does that mean men don’t face a biological clock and that male fertility is unaffected by age?
There are many famous older fathers: Robert deNiro was 68 when he became a father with his second wife; Pablo Picasso was 68 when his fourth child, Paloma, was born; Steve Martin became a father for the first time at 67; and Clint Eastwood, who became a father for the seventh time at 67. With such veteran fathers hitting the headlines, you can understand why there is a popular myth that men don’t face the same biological clock as women.
To some extent they don’t. Women who have been through the menopause can’t get pregnant naturally. Men don’t face such an absolute cut off as this, as the famous older dads illustrate. In fact, it’s not just Hollywood’s leading men who are having children later: since 1980, fertility rates among men aged under 30 have fallen by 15%, while the fertility rate for those aged over 30 has increased by 21%, and among those aged over 40 by a staggering 30%.
But although more men are choosing to become fathers later, male fertility does decline with age. Surprisingly, it actually begins a slow decline once men hit their 30s. Studies have consistently shown that the older men get, the longer it takes for them and their partner to conceive. Although this is partly explained by the fact that older men often have older partners, declining male fertility is seen regardless of the woman’s age. An analysis of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood found that, once adjustments were made for female age, conception during a 12-month period was 30% less likely for men older than 40 than for men who were younger than 30.
So it is true that men can become fathers into their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s. But that doesn’t mean they can take their fertility for granted as they age.
Our experts at The Agora Clinic are happy to advise you on the best diet and lifestyle choices you can make to create strong, healthy sperm and maximise your chances of getting pregnant, or we can talk you through fertility screening and treatment options.
To find out more about how our fertility experts can help you, call us on 01273 229410