Laboratory Products

How Do Men Compare to Women When it Comes to the 'Biological Clock'?

Jul 19 2017 Read 1268 Times

For some women, the concept of a ‘biological clock’ serves as a constant reminder that babies should be a top priority. It’s generally women that carry the burden, though now researchers have found that men are also affected by the ominous ticking.  

After studying IVF pregnancies, researchers found that women aged 30 years or under had a 73% chance of live birth when conceiving with a male partner aged 30 to 35. In comparison, male partners aged 40 to 42 saw chances fall to just 46%. To the scientists involved in the study, it’s a clear indicator that when it comes to conception, male age does matter.

Gents ‘tick tock’ too

Laura Dodge led the study, which was carried out at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and Harvard Medical School in Boston. She muses that for gents who are reluctant to start families, the lack of a ‘biological clock’ is an age-old defence that there’s no need to rush into fatherhood.

“The impact of age seems to focus almost exclusively on the female partner’s biological clock,” comments Dodge.

To prove the theory, Dodge and her colleagues studied records of nearly 19,000 IVF treatment cycles. The women were divided up into four age brackets, ranging from under 30, 30-35, 35-40, and 40-42. The men were divided into the same groups, with an extra bracket for the over 42s. The team then looked at the link between age and live births, with women in the 40-42 age bracket burdened with the lowest rates. At this age, the male partner’s age had no impact.

However, for younger women the age of their partners did have a significant impact. While ladies aged 30 or under with a male partner aged 30 to 35 had a 73% chance of live birth after IVF, the figure plummeted to just 46% for partners aged 40 to 42. According to Dodge, this is bona fide proof that the biological clock ticks for men, as well as women.

Experts remind couples that it “takes two to tango”

The findings were reported at Geneva’s European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting, and represents an important milestone for gender equality.

“The value of this is not only in counselling couples,” comments Nick Macklon, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Southampton. “This reminds us that it takes two to tango and it’s not just down to the age of the woman.”

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