Fathering a Child After Age 50

Does paternal age impact outcomes in IVF or ICSI? What a new study found.

Many people are familiar with the idea of the female biological clock. However, there’s less familiarity about the association between male fertility and age. Mick Jagger had his eighth child at the age of 73, right?

Some believe that because men continue to produce sperm, they will always have the ability the father children. However, age does have an impact on male fertility, sperm quality, and sexual function. A 2021 study found that male fertility falls with age, and increased age can even lower the success rates of IVF.

The study published in the Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica Journal discussed whether paternal age had an effect on the success of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures like IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), and whether the effect was independent of maternal age.

After reviewing data from 4271 men, the researchers found that there was a significantly lower chance of a live birth after ART if the paternal age was over 50. They suggested that that “there should be a public health message for men not to delay fatherhood.” The analysis is interesting because it looks at a large number of men over 50 and attempts to control for maternal age, though it did not consider other lifestyle factors which could influence outcomes.

There's no single factor that determines fertility, but there are considerations when it comes to male fertility and age. It’s a good idea to discuss your fertility and desired conception timelines with your medical provider.

Some men may opt to pursue sperm freezing to preserve fertility and freeze sperm in their younger years for potential future use. Advancing paternal age is one consideration that leads people to freeze their sperm.