Recent research findings: male age and IVF success

The chances of carrying a healthy baby after IVF in women under 30 years of age are 73% if their partner is between 30 and 35. If the potential father’s age is between 40 and 42, however, this probability drops to 46%.

Many men who are in no hurry to start a family and have children cite the compelling example of Des O’Connor or Luciano Pavarotti. They, however, as well as some other world stars, became fathers at a fairly advanced age.

But doctors warn that a man’s age is just as important as a woman’s. New research confirms the fact that the chances of having a baby depend heavily on this indicator as well.

Laura Dodge, who has conducted a number of scientific studies at Beth-Israel Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, strongly recommends taking her findings into account when planning a family. “When deciding to have a child, partners should definitely consider male age,” she said. Scientists have long considered it a proven fact that a woman’s chances of conceiving naturally decrease dramatically once she reaches age 35. But so far, studies on the effect of age on fertility have focused only on women. It is for this reason that the influence of a similar malefactor has been less well understood.


The results of nearly 19,000 in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures performed at Boston clinics between 2000 and 2014 were used as material for the scientific analysis. Women were divided into four age groups: under 30, 30 to 35, 35 to 40, and 40 to 42. For men, in addition to similar categories, a group of those over 42 was added. The total number of couples studied was about 8,000, with some of them having used the IVF procedure up to six times. As expected, the lowest fertility rate was observed in women aged 40 to 42. The age of the partner had no effect on the study results.

But for younger women, this indicator had a significant effect. Women aged 30 to 35 years with a partner aged 30 to 35 years carried a healthy child after IVF in 77% of cases. But if a man’s age was 40-42 years old, the probability of bearing a child decreased to 46%. Whether men want it or not, in this case, the role of the biological clock is as important for them as it is for women.

The results of this and similar studies were presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, held July 2-5, 2017 in Geneva. Scientific materials suggest that male age does not have a significant effect on fertility only when partners are matched. At the same time, if women 35-40 years old were partnered with 30-35-year-old men, their odds were estimated to be 54%. When men were less than 30 years old, the odds increased to 70%.

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How does this help in treating infertility?

According to Nick McLean, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southampton, the findings have value beyond counseling couples. ” It should help women reasonably motivate their partners to conceive at an earlier male age,” the professor said.

Another important argument is the results obtained by scientists at the University of Copenhagen in 2016. They show that children fathered by older men have an increased risk of developing autism.

Researchers have not yet fully determined the mechanism of how male age affects the possibility of successful fertilization. The problem of infertility in older women has been studied more thoroughly. Its main cause is thought to be an increase in the number of chromosomes damaged by mutations in female eggs.

According to Laura Dodge, “the decline in sperm quality with age certainly plays a role, but the work done shows that this is far from a complete picture. It is for this reason that research will continue.”