Now men are warned not to put off having children

Now men are warned not to put off having children

Now men are warned not to put off having children as they could end up leaving it too late to start a family

  • Increasing evidence that age may damage the DNA of sperm, which could affect men’s fertility or the health of their children
  • Around half of cases of infertility in couples are caused by a problem with men 
  • The fertility industry has been criticised for focusing too much on women

Women have spent decades being told they should have a baby earlier, rather than concentrating on their careers.

But now men are also being warned they are leaving it too late to start a family.

Fertility expert Professor Sheena Lewis said: ‘Lots of people put a lot of other things into their life before they think of parenthood, and I think that’s been true of men in particular.

‘Getting their career sorted out, getting the home, getting the nice car, and all those sorts of things.’ 

There is increasing evidence that age may damage the DNA of sperm, which some experts say could affect men’s fertility or the health of their children.

Women have spent decades being told they should have a baby earlier, rather than concentrating on their careers. But now men are also being warned they are leaving it too late to start a family (file photo: semen analysis)

Professor Lewis, of Queen’s University Belfast, whose research focuses on DNA damage in men’s sperm and who has developed a test for it through her company Examen, added: ‘I’m just trying to dispel the myth that men can wait until they are in their fifties.’

Giving the online lecture on male fertility, Professor Lewis advised men not to follow the example of celebrities like Ronnie Wood, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart, or actor Kelsey Grammer in having children when they are older.

She said: ‘A common factor in all of those is they’ve got very young partners.

‘Now that is fine – an older man can make a younger partner pregnant because she has got very young eggs, and her eggs can actually repair a lot of the damage that there is in the older sperm.

‘But for the average person who is wanting to have a family, they’re usually (aged) within five years of each other.

There is increasing evidence that age may damage the DNA of sperm, which some experts say could affect men’s fertility or the health of their children (file image)

‘So, for a man to wait until he’s 50, or 70, and then hope that he’s going to be able to have a family with his partner, is just not going to happen.’

Around half of cases of infertility in couples are caused by a problem with men, and the fertility industry has been criticised for focusing too much on women.

But age is still not believed to be a major factor for male fertility, and experts have raised concerns over US clinics offering sperm freezing similar to egg freezing for women, when it is highly unlikely to offer any benefits to men.

However Professor Lewis, whose research focuses on DNA damage in men’s sperm, and who has developed a test for it through her company Examen (SUBS – pls keep), says men should consider whether it is ‘wiser to have your children earlier’.

She said: ‘I’m just trying to dispel the myth that men can wait until they are in their fifties.’

Speaking after the online event, she told the Daily Mail: ‘Boys should have the same kind of education about their fertility at school as girls, so that they can build fatherhood into their ten-year plans.

‘Men should join women on the centre stage when it comes to fertility.’

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