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Study Reveals Exact Age Men's Sperm Quality Starts to Deteriorate

Update Date: Jul 26, 2013 01:39 PM EDT

It seems that men also need to think about their biological clock.  While previous studies have shown that sperm count and quality deteriorates with age, a new study reveals the exact age the average man's reproductive potential starts to decline.

Past findings suggest that a man's sperm quality begins to decline around age 40.  However, new research reveals that men's sperm quality may start to deteriorate half a decade earlier, at the age of 35.

What's more, researchers found that the proportion of sperm carrying an X chromosome also seems to increase with age, meaning that older men are more likely to father daughters, according to New Scientist.

Researchers at Reproductive Technology Laboratories in Los Angeles analyzed sperm samples of 5,081 men between the ages of 16 and 72, and found evidence of deterioration in sperm quality and quantity after the age of 35.

"Whether it's 35 or 40, the message from this and other papers is that men should be aware of age-related changes in their reproductive system and if they wish to become fathers they shouldn't leave it too late," Allan Pacey, a fertility specialist at the University of Sheffield, UK, told New Scientist.

Pacey and his team also found that men older than 55 experience a decrease in the ratio of Y to X-bearing sperm.

Researchers explain that like any other cell in the body, sperm cells are constantly regenerating, and every cell division comes with a greater risk of genetic mutation. Previous studies have found evidence that older men (40 and up) are more likely to father children with diseases like autism and schizophrenia., according to The Week.

While some researchers are still debating whether the quality and quality of a man's sperm deteriorates with age, Pacey said there is ample evidence to suggest that older men experience more problems conceiving.

"There is fairly convincing epidemiological evidence that older men do find it harder to conceive a child - regardless of female age - and as men get older their partners are at increased risk of miscarriage," Pacey said.

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