The standard sperm donation age should be increased to 45 years, a new study has declared.
The current limit is 40 based on previous studies which found that sperm quality declines as men get older. However a study by Newcastle Fertility at the Centre for Life found that IVF clinics could use older men’s sperm because they were able to select ones that are sufficiently healthy.
“A study by Newcastle Fertility at the Centre for Life said the age limit can be increased as they were able to find sperms that were sufficiently healthy,”Dr. Meenakshi Choudhary said. “It is not about the age, but about sperm quality.”
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 Fertilization and Embryology Authority data suggests that researchers analyzed the success of donations from men aged 20 and under 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.
The study on sperm donation age was based on the assessment of data stored by the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
“Our results suggest that, up to the age of 45, there is little effect of male age on treatment outcome, but sperm donors are a selected population based on good sperm quality,” stated Dr. Choudhary.
Dr. Choudhary asserted that women should have nothing to fear if they choose an older donor, even though he did agree that there have been a few studies that found age has an effect on DNA mutations.
It is believed that with older men comes greater likelihoods of miscarriage, pregnancy loss and birth defect. There is also the chance that the offspring will have long-term disorders.
Dr. Choudhary, however, said evidence is limited. Moreover, there is still no consensus with regard to advancing paternal age and fertility outcome. Professor Allan Pacey, chairman of the British Fertility Society, is not in favor of increasing the sperm donation age.
Pacey believes that if the sperm donation age is increased, there will be more negative effects on 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.