SUR­PRISE! He’s Got a Baby Clock, Too

Men have long had the lux­ury of liv­ing im­mune to the tick-tock of a bi­o­log­i­cal clock. But new re­search puts an end to that.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - MEN & YOU - By Jessica Knoll

As women, the idea of an ex­pi­ra­tion date has been drilled into our heads since pu­berty. Ev­ery­one from doc­tors to rom-com char­ac­ters cau­tion that if you want to be a mom, you’d bet­ter get to it by the big 3-5, be­fore your eggs dry up. Guys, on the other hand? It seems like they can make ba­bies when­ever they want. But as it turns out, their clock is tick­ing too—just a lit­tle more qui­etly than ours. “With age, male fer­til­ity de­creases and the risk of ge­netic prob­lems in the off­spring in­creases,” says Harry Fisch, MD, author of The Male Bi­o­log­i­cal Clock. He warns that if a man is plan­ning on hav­ing a fam­ily, he should aim to check off that box be­fore 35, too. Di­min­ish­ing Re­turns Record-skip­ping fact: ac­cord­ing to Dr Fisch, men 35 and older are twice as likely to be in­fer­tile than those un­der 30. Yes, guys do pro­duce sperm their whole lives, but the count be­gins to drop dur­ing their late 30s. The de­cline in sperm is less acute than the de­cline in eggs, but his age does mat­ter. It’s not just the quan­tity of his swim­mers that takes a nose­dive—qual­ity suf­fers, too. “With each ejac­u­la­tion, a man re­gen­er­ates new sperm cells,” ex­plains Dr Fisch, “but as tes­tic­u­lar cells age, they don’t func­tion as well.” So while his sperm can fer­tilise your egg, it could re­sult in ab­nor­mal­i­ties. “There is a higher oc­cur­rence of Down syn­drome, autism, and schizophre­nia in chil­dren,” says Dr Fisch, “and women are more likely to mis­carry with a part­ner who is 35 or older.”

Ba­bies & Beer Guts

There’s one other fac­tor guys need to think about: their over­all health. “For a woman, age is the most im­por­tant fac­tor for fer­til­ity,” says Dr Fisch, “but an un­healthy man—who is over­weight, smokes, does drugs, and/or drinks too much—runs the risk of in­ter­fer­ing with his sex­ual func­tion as well as sperm pro­duc­tion and qual­ity.” Bot­tom line: if you’re in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship with some­one you want to have kids with, you may want to broach this topic with him, since he likely as­sumes his swim­mers will re­main as fit as Michael Phelps for­ever. He may not be able to stop the age­ing process, but he can take care of him­self and stay fit, so the two of you will have the best chance pos­si­ble of hav­ing a healthy baby.

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