A new study has suggested that the maximum age of men donating their sperm should be increased to 45 years as it is the quality of the sperm, and not its age, that is important.
The study was conducted by researchers at Newcastle Fertility at the Centre for Life who found that as IVF clinics select donors based on the quality of the sperm, their age was not important as a 40 year old was as capable of producing a healthy child as a 20 year old. The study has been presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and involved analysis of more than 39,000 first fertility treatment cycles performed in the UK using sperm donation
"Our results suggest that, up to the age of 45, there is little effect of male age on treatment outcome, but sperm donors are a selected population based on good sperm quality. Whilst advancing female age is clearly associated with fertility decline there is still no consensus about advancing paternal age and fertility outcome. This is an area which is still much under-researched. A few studies show an effect on DNA mutations which might explain a higher rate of miscarriage, pregnancy loss and birth defect. Advanced paternal age has also been associated with long-term disorders in offspring. But the available evidence is limited", lead researcher Dr Meenakshi Choudhary said.