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Older fathers may have less success with IVF

03 July 2017

By Shaoni Bhattacharya

Appeared in BioNews 907

The success of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) in women under the age of 40 may be affected by the age of their male partners, suggests a US study.

The chance of having a baby through IVF fell for these women with increasing age in their male partner.

'Our study found an independent effect of male age on the cumulative incidence of live birth,' said Dr Laura Dodge at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in the USA.

Female age is known to be the dominant factor in predicting a couple's chance of conception, but few studies have explored the impact of male age. This new study analysed nearly 19,000 cycles of IVF in 7753 couples in the Boston area. While the age of the male partner had no effect on IVF success in women aged 40-42, it had a significant influence in younger women, the team found.

For example, couples where the woman was under 30 and the man aged 40-42 had a 46 percent chance of having a baby through IVF, compared with a 73 percent chance if the man was aged 30-35.

'Generally, we saw no significant decline in cumulative live birth when women had a male partner the same age or younger,' said Dr Dodge, who will present the results to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland on 4 July.

The reasons for decreasing IVF success with male age are unknown, but Dr Dodge noted that with natural conception, older male age is associated with fewer pregnancies and increased time to pregnancy. Mechanisms are unclear, but may include increased DNA damage in sperm and epigenetic alterations in sperm that affect fertilisation and implantation.

Professor Nicholas Macklon at the University of Southampton said of the findings: 'It may help women to encourage their male partners to get a move on.'


25 September 2017 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
Parents pass on more new genetic mutations to their children with age, and fathers pass on more than mothers, according to a study...
07 August 2017 - by Caroline Law 
While media reports regularly remind us of women's biological clocks and warn of the dangers of women leaving it 'too late' to have children, until recently little attention has been paid to the role of men in timing when to have children, and the effect of age on male fertility...

13 July 2015 - by Dr Sarah Martins da Silva 
Kevin Smith should be applauded for raising awareness of men's biological clocks, but his proposal to 'genetically improve' the human population through sperm banking seems preposterous...
29 June 2015 - by Ari Haque 
A UK bioethicist has argued that 18-year-old men should consider freezing their sperm to reduce the risk of their children having genetic disorders...
30 June 2014 - by Siobhan Chan 
The age of sperm donors has no impact on the chances of having a baby via IVF and donor insemination, a study has found...
28 August 2012 - by Helen Brooks 
Children of older fathers inherit more genetic mutations than those of younger fathers, according to Icelandic scientists....

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Published by the Progress Educational Trust


Public Conference
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


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