A major study has shown that sperm donors up to the age of 45 are just as likely to conceive children as those in their 20s.
The discovery break away the myth that the success of IVF success is determined by the age of the donor,
Encouraging more men to donate sperms, could help alleviate the sperm shortage faced by fertility clinics.
Dr Navdeep Ghuman, from Newcastle Fertility Centre, who took part in the study of more than 230,000 donation treatments, said: “What’s reassuring is that there’s no decline observed with increasing age of the men.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority data suggests that researchers analysed the success of donations from men aged 20 and under to 45.
They found that live birth rate fell with the increasing age of women, dropping from 29% for those aged 18 to 34 to just 14% for the over-37 age group.
But the age of the sperm donor had no impact.
Previously men were allowed to donate till the age of 40 only, as previous studies suggested that sperm quality declines with age.
Dr Meenakshi Choudhary, who led the Newcastle Fertility Centre team, said: “This trend of less likelihood of live birth with younger sperm donor might simply be explained by the fact that younger men who donate sperm are less likely to have proven fertility themselves than older sperm donors with proven fertility.”
“Hopefully this study will give women a message that their chances will not be compromised if they have to choose an older donor.”
The study presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology analysed every first fertility treatment cycle performed in the UK using sperm donation.
From a total of more than 230,000 sperm donation cycles, 39,282 were from a first cycle of treatment with either IVF or donor insemination and were included in the analysis .
However the doubt arises over the potential risk of birth defects in his children.
Professor Allan Pacey, chairman of the British Fertility Society, argued against raising the donation age limit to 45 “because of the possible effects on the health of children”.
“I get little whispers, with pressure increasing due to the lack of sperm donors, that people are not adhering to accepted levels of sperm quality, and that is a worry. We simply don’t have enough sperm donors in the UK,” he said.