Female fertility is often in the news, and we know that a women’s age and health can affect her ability to become pregnant. We don’t see so much discussion of male fertility but if you’re trying to have a baby, you need to be aware of the factors that can temporarily or permanently reduce your fertility.
First things first, when we talk male fertility, we’re chatting semen, the liquid that men ejaculate, that contains sperm. For the best chances of conceiving, you need an adequate amount of good quality sperm. When we talk about sperm quality, this means the amount of sperm contained with the semen, and the motility, or ability to move, of the sperm, which impacts the ability of the sperm to reach and fertilise the egg. Issues with sperm transport can also affect fertility, like blockages between the testes and the penis.
Some factors to pay attention to when you’re planning to conceive are:
The impact of the mother’s age on fertility gets a lot of airtime, but the importance of the age of the father is often overlooked. While we know that women are born with a full complement of eggs, and men continue to produce sperm throughout their life, we now know that the quality of this sperm is negatively affected by age.
Like older mothers, older fathers also carry a higher risk of miscarriage. The risk of miscarriage is twice as high for women whose male partner is aged over 45 than for those whose partners are under 25. So, as with women, if you know that you and your partner want to have children, it’s better to start trying sooner, rather than later if you can.