The trend towards the late desire for children continues to increase: According to statistics, couples decide later and later for a child. But the fulfilment of this life-long dream can also bring risks for your potential offspring.
Life. We want to live it to the full, we want it all, but we cannot do all at once. Strangely, it is often the most wanted on the “to-do list” that gets delayed. Older parents, for example, are no longer unusual. In the western world, statistics for the past ten years show that about two-thirds of babies have been born to fathers aged 30 or over, and every sixth new father is 40+ (1). As to women, international statistics suggest the same. In the most recent figures of Canada, more than 50 % of all live births were to mothers between 30 and 49 years of age, up from 39 % twenty years earlier.
A global trend. These data are not particular to a few countries only; it is a worldwide trend and as such not a healthy one, but there are a variety of sensible and practical reasons why people are having children later in life. One, there is the economic reason that causes people to delay parenthood, the desire to focus on careers, and the difficulties to buy your own proper home when young. An analysis of US census data, for example, showed that even waiting to start a family just five more years, at 35 instead of 30, made a difference of $16,000 per year on average, creating a financially more stable family setting.
Then there is a significant rise in second marriages. Men may marry younger women, which can mean becoming a father again at an advanced age. And of course, we are all living longer than ever. “Forty is the new thirty”, says David Kesterton of the Family Planning Association UK, to sum it all up. “Both women and men feel they have the energy for parenting in later life.” And the use of contraceptives enables them to act according to plan.
BUT: The trend of delayed parenthood comes with a health warning. We may live longer than ever, yet our biological clock starts ticking early on. Both men´s and women´s fertility decreases with age. And, as the recently published and globally acclaimed study of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem on sperm quality highlighted, the fertility of men is not what it used to be to start with.
Within the last 40 years, sperm counts in the West plunged by 60 % (2). For reasons yet to be established. But many of them are age-related. While a woman´s ability to reproduce decreases greatly after a certain age (less than 1 % of new mothers are over the age of 45), men can go on making babies as long as they can have sex. Yet there are problems. A study by Indiana University and the Karolinska Institute Stockholm (2014) found a link between men fathering a child at the age of 45 and disorders like autism, ADHD, and schizophrenia in their children (3). “45 is the age when men have a higher DNA fragmentation rate”, says Dr Kirk Lo, professor at Mount Sinai Hospital. Sperm is a pack of DNA and if there is any damage to it the strands start to break.
A Brazilian study on the Male Age Factor has shown that DNA fragmentation increases with age. It is not yet known if DNA fragmentation is entirely age-related. Studies suggest that radiation from WiFi-technology may play a role as well (4). Another study found that certain antidepressants can cause DNA damage to sperm (5). But the main factor is age. Like an apple slowly turning brown when exposed to air, our cells can “rust” when we breathe. Due to oxidative stress caused by free radicals which damage or “oxidize” our DNA, contributing massively to the causes of male infertility.
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In short: There are reasons why people delay parenthood. And there are reasons why this may not be a good idea. Age-related decline in fertility and the increased likelihood of miscarriages mean that delay can put extra physical stress on a woman´s body and her baby´s. Older men find it harder to become fathers. And the older the father-to-be, the bigger the danger caused by DNA fragmentation. Even couples who already have a child may experience secondary infertility – the inability to make another baby. There are but a few ways to fulfill your life´s wish to become a parent. One is not to wait until your 50s. But should you decide to delay, there is another way. There is a way to prolong and preserve your fertility. This is where PROfertil® comes in.
So far, PROfertil® male stands out as the only fertility product worldwide with five clinical trials proving its synergistic efficacy, meaning a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The 4th study showed the positive impact of PROfertil® male on DNA fragmentation: While healthy men have enough antioxidative capacities to keep the free radicals (ROS – reactive oxygen species) at bay, factors like – in particular – age cause increased testicular ROS production not buffered by the body´s antioxidative capacities. With its unique patented composition including strong antioxidants such as glutathione, PROfertil® male significantly strengthens men´s line of defense against increased production of ROS, thereby protecting sperm against DNA fragmentation, boosting male fertility and positive outcomes in ART treatments.
(1) Office of National Statistics UK
(2) Hagai L et al, 2017
(3) globalnews.ca, 2017
(4) myjoyonline.com, 2017
(5) rd.com, 2017
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