Men, your biological clock is also ticking

Does age affect the quality of sperm?

It is true that age does affect the quality of sperm in men but not as much as the case {of ovum} in older women. Male reproductive organs involved in the creation of sperm become slower and less efficient with age, resulting in lower sperm count.

This is more observed in men after the age of 45 years. However, how much this may affect the chances of pregnancy is not exactly known but the frequency of intercourse may decrease with time which in turn decreases the chance of conception.

Are there health complications likely to arise?

We haven't seen an increased risk of any genetic abnormalities from children born of older men but if there are significant male factor issues, then we may also see a slight chance of an increase in certain male conditions in male newborns.

How can I improve my fertility?

If you are not in a hurry to have children, it’s important to live healthy to protect the health of your sperm as well as its potency. This means focusing on your general health by eating healthy and exercising regularly, as well as limiting the consumption of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.

Some men might also consider having a semen analysis done to evaluate the number, motility, and morphology of their sperm. If you’re in your 30s and want to preserve your fertility for future childbearing when ready, you can consider freezing and storing your sperm.

What of the appropriate age for women?

Women in their 20s have the best chances to conceive. This decreases progressively in their 30s and more sharply in their 40s.

What’s the biological clock for women?

There’s an average age of menopause in women which is generally considered about 50 years when most women start to exhibit symptoms. We tend to worry when there’s early menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency because this will be before the age of 45 years.

The ovary produces hormones that are useful for well-being particularly the bones, heart health and general wellness. If these hormones aren’t there dues to early menopause, there might be complications arising from lack of estrogen and you may find bones becoming weak and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Dr Muteshi is a consultant obstetrician-gynecologist and fertility expert at Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi

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