Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs debate whether to recognise Palestine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

All dogs may go to heaven after all

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

The 'Stagnation Trap', with Catherine Mann, Chief Economist at the OECD

Read more

FOCUS

Thiaroye, a dark chapter in France and Senegal's common history

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande and Africa: French president speaks to France 24

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Ferguson and race relations in the US

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Calls for probe into 1998 murder of journalist

Read more

ENCORE!

'An American in Paris', a truly transatlantic collaboration

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Oil prices 'could fall further' without OPEC output cut

Read more

Study: men getting less fertile over 40

Latest update : 2008-07-08

A French study suggests that couples where the man is over 40 have more trouble conceiving a child. If accurate, this provides the first scientific proof of a "biological clock"phenomenon in men.

Women's pregnancy rates drop and miscarriages increase when the baby's father is over 40 years old, according to a study to be released Monday.

It has long been known that a woman's chance of reproducing declines with age once she is in her mid-thirties, but the new findings provide the strongest evidence to date that being an older father poses a risk as well.

Researchers in France monitored 21,239 cases of intrauterine insemination (IUI) -- a particularly effective type of artificial insemination -- in more than 12,000 couples.

As expected, they found that women over 35 showed significantly decreased pregnancy rates compared to younger women, as well as higher rates of miscarriage.

"But we also demonstrated that the age of the father was important in the rate of pregnancy, with a negative effect for men over 40," said Stephanie Belloc, a researcher at the Eylau Centre for Assisted Reproduction in Paris, and lead author of the study.

"And even more surprising, the proportion of miscarriages went up as well," she added.

Belloc was to present her research Monday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona. They will be published in the British journal Reproductive Biomedicine.

In IUI treatment, sperm are separated from seminal fluid in a centrifuge. The "washed" sperm are then inserted directly into the uterus in order to enhance the chances of conception.

In most of the cases examined, the couples were being treated because of the husband's infertility, but the findings also apply to men without such problems, the researchers said.

"There is no doubt that we can extrapolate from the study to men in general," said co-author Yves Menezo, also a researcher at the Eylau Centre.

Although previous research has shown an overall decline in sperm count and quality as men age decade by decade, this is the first clinical proof that simply being an older man has a direct effect on a couple's fertility, he said.

"We already believed that couples where the man was older took longer to conceive," said Belloc in a statement. "But how DNA damage in older men translates into clinical practice has not been shown up to now."

The impact of paternal age on artificial insemination outcomes "should be considered by both doctors and patients in assisted reproduction," she added.

Date created : 2008-07-07

COMMENT(S)