We always think of the women getting older and experiencing a decrease in fertility, but how about guys ?

A new study, “Paternal age over 50 years decreases assisted reproductive technology (ART) success: A single UK center retrospective analysis”  looked at the results for artificial insemination (in vitro fertilization/ intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI)) outcomes notes the numbers focused on those over 50 vs those less than 35 years of age are telling. The bottom line…. not unlike females, guys loose their vitality for fertilization over time.


The UK study found a  significantly lower proportion of men over 51 years met the WHO criteria for good sperm (56/133, [42.1%, 95% CI 34.1–50.6]) compared with men under 51 years of age (2530/4138 [61.1%, 95% CI 60.0–62.6]) (p = 0.001). The WHO criteria are based on “volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, and sperm morphology”  all critical for impregnation and ultimately a successful pregnancy. How does this translate, live birth rates decreased with increasing paternal age, from 48.9% for men ≤35 to 29.5% for men ≥51, as well as increasing maternal age, from 50.3% for women ≤35 to 20.8% for women ≥40.


In study after study we keep seeing a deceasing quality of sperm even in younger men. Try these number on for size:an overall decline of 52.4% over approximately 40 years” and continuing each and every year. Curiously there seems to be far more loss in those living in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America. Now not everyone is on this bandwagon and we would be remiss if we did not take into account the work at Harvard. In a quick read their overall claim is that there is inadequate sampling from minorities.

Endocrine Disruption:

Theirs no lack of suggestions ranging from environmental impacts, think the endocrine disputers to overall poorer nutritional intake and more. Back ~20 years ago the trend was noted in a journal article, “Decreased human semen quality and organochlorine compounds in blood” , which translated to lay speak means they had higher levels of PBA…..wait… you may have heard that there are lots of PBA free products however, are they PBS and PBF free. These were the substitutions that may be worse and are not mentioned in the many deceptive advertisements. Can you recall seeing any product indicating that they had all 3 forms absent ?


With a potential association with pesticides, consider a report from Harvard, Pesticides result in lower sperm counts  that documents the effects. Your probably saying I don’t get much exposure, really ? Do you go to a park with your kids that’s sprayed or do you use weed and feed products on your lawn, or live anywhere down wind of agricultural happenings ?  Do you golf  and wipe off your cloths and shoes when you return home ? I’m sure you can see the breath and width of the exposures, even when your aware and taking precautions. May I digress,  there are water borne sources as well and…. what about your neighbors yard and their use of toxins ? Concerned that this same toxin could affect your child’s brain ?

Then  there’s the elephant in the room, your non-organic veggies and fruits. If you’ve been around a while your familiar with the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) top 12 Dirty Dozen foods with high pesticide residues. Eating a “cleaner” diet is well documented to make impact in 7-14 days and is measurable via your urine. Great book to get you oriented to understanding the magnitude of the issue is , Slow Death By Rubber Duck” Smith and Lourie.  Written for a lay audience and easy to digest. If you’re inclined to see what’s coming out of your body, drop us a line and let’s get you tested.

Take Aways:

  • Don’t fall for the BPA free rap, call and check if it’s BPS and BPF free as well
  • Using pesticides , may want to rethink this approach
  • Getting older and waiting for a family, have your considered a sperm bank ?
  • Sperm testing can be easy and does not need a health care professional ( in most states)
  • Eat organic fruits and veggies, see the EWG handout and avoid the Dirty Dozen and don’t forget the Clean 15