The same way as women, men also have an optimal age to become parents. This means they also have a biological clock, which means that family planning must be undertaken by both sides. The clock establishes the ideal characteristics for a person to become a father or a mother.
In women, it’s common to talk about biological clock and it is known that their fertility decreases after they turn 30-35. Does the same happen to men? Do they have a biological clock? Which is their ideal age to become fathers?
In the case of men, the ideal age to conceive children is between 20 and 40. From 40 on, men’s fertility decreases up to 70%. This doesn’t mean that men over forty can’t be parents, but a link between this and malformations in babies has been observed.
Men carry on producing spermatozoa during their adulthood, but they don’t have the same quality. Over time, spermatozoa suffer modifications in their DNA.
If a man has unhealthy habits, delays paternity until he is 40 or more, has illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity, there’s a higher likelihood that his spermatozoa will have bad quality, since all of these are risk factors.
It’s estimated that out of every ten couples with infertility problems, in three of the cases is the man the one who has bad reproductive quality. When a couple has been trying to have children for a year and hasn’t been able to, the ideal would be that both members of the couple went through some medical tests.
Family planning has traditionally been left to women; most men don’t take part in it. One way for them to take part in this planning would be to make them aware of the fact that they also have a biological clock and that, according to their risk factors, they could be in their most fertile moment, and hence the best to become fathers.
It’s recommended that, when a couple wishes to have children, they visit together their centre to receive advice and go through several medical tests, to verify that everything is all right and avoid problems when they are trying to conceive a child. These tests would be:
- Medical tests, such as a sperm analysis for men, which examines the ejaculated sperm and several sperm parameters – motility, morphology, concentration and vitality – to determine its characteristics. A blood analysis, to detect the levels of certain hormones (testosterone and lactogenic hormone, among others) related with sperm production.
- In the case of women, a routine pelvic examination. An ultrasound can be performed to check ovaries and uterus. A blood analysis can be carried out to monitor hormones, etc.