Women Aren’t The Only Ones Dealing With Biological Clocks

So often women seeking fertility speak of their biological clock. Women worry that their widow of motherhood opportunity is getting smaller every single day. It can make them a bit envious of their partners, who don’t often worry about their age’s effect on fertility. While it is no consolation, it may comfort these women to know that new research suggests that men are also working against the clock when it comes to building a family.

New research shows that as men age their sperm develops more mutations that could cause genetic diseases. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes the work of Andrew Wilkie, a professor of pathology at the University of Oxford. Men produce millions sperm cells every day through a biological process that splits a sperm cell and replicates the DNA. Every so often a mutation will occur, and an error in the DNA will carry onto a new generation of cells.

DNA mutation is generally harmless, after all there are billions of cells reproducing in your body on a daily basis. However they can, in some cases, cause harmful genetic mutations in sperm. Even more alarming to researchers is that some men have what is called a, “selfish mutation” situation, where more sperm cells than expected carry the mutation. As the man ages, this mutation continues on and the amount of sperm with mutated DNA rises.

Their study focused on a rare genetic disease called Apert Syndrome that affects the development of a child’s skull and limbs. It affects 1- 60,000 to 70,000 babies. Because producing these mutated cells becomes business as usual, the chances of him bearing a child with the mutated sperm increases. They found  the process that can create the genetic mutation for Apert Syndrom occurred in every man who participated in their study. They concluded that it is possible for two parents without the genetic mutation could pass it onto their child if the husband were older and carried a large amount of these mutated sperm cells. 

While this genetic mutation is very rare, it is still an important thing to take into consideration when planning on going through fertility treatments as you age. It’s not just the age of your wife’s eggs that should be taken into account, but also your age and the probability that you are producing this genetic mutation that you, yourself do not exhibit. All men will exhibit mutant sperm growth in their life time, so it is important for older couples to discuss this with their fertility doctor when they come in for fertility testing.

Diagnosing Male Fertility Issues

Because there is so much emphasis on female fertility when a couple is seeking fertility treatment their husbands are often left sitting in the waiting room. However at Viera Fertility Clinic, we are dedicated to making your dreams of a family come true. While many people are aware of and familiar with female fertility issues, there are many fertility tests we need to run on the soon-to-be fathers to make sure that the reality of a family is closer than anticipated.

Male fertility issues affect 20 percent of infertility cases that we see here at our Viera Center. To rule out or diagnose a male fertility issue keeping your family from conceiving, we must perform a few tests.

First, a semen analysis will be performed to discover if sperm count, motility, and morphology are favorable for conception. After this evaluation, additional testing may be necessary. These tests can include:

  • A blood test to determine if hormones are to blame.
  • A genetic test to see if a chromosomal abnormality is standing in your way.
  • And finally, a urologic evaluation, which may include a physical examination, ultrasonography, and in some cases a testicular biopsy.

While there are many factors that cause a couple’s infertility, more increasingly age is becoming a factor. If you are looking to have a family, and are not meeting with success, schedule an appointment with Viera Fertility Clinic today. We take every factor into consideration, and can help you decide if fertility treatment is right for your growing family. We have the resources to help you achieve pregnancy, but don’t wait. Time is of the essence.