Effects of increased paternal age on sperm quality, reproductive outcome and associated epigenetic risks to offspring
Apr 2015 - Reprod Biol Endocrinol
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in average paternal age when the first child is conceived, either due to increased life expectancy, widespread use of contraception, late marriages and other factors. While the effect of maternal ageing on fertilization and reproduction is well known and several studies have shown that women over 35 years have a higher risk of infertility, pregnancy complications, spontaneous abortion, congenital anomalies, and perinatal complications. The effect of paternal age on semen quality and reproductive function is controversial for several reasons. <!--more-->First, there is no universal definition for advanced paternal ageing. Secondly, the literature is full of studies with conflicting results, especially for the most common parameters tested. Advancing paternal age also has been associated with increased risk of genetic disease. Our exhaustive literature review has demonstrated negative effects on sperm quality and testicular functions with increasing paternal age. Epigenetics changes, DNA mutations along with chromosomal aneuploidies have been associated with increasing paternal age. In addition to increased risk of male infertility, paternal age has also been demonstrated to impact reproductive and fertility outcomes including a decrease in IVF/ICSI success rate and increasing rate of preterm birth. Increasing paternal age has shown to increase the incidence of different types of disorders like autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and childhood leukemia in the progeny. It is thereby essential to educate the infertile couples on the disturbing links between increased paternal age and rising disorders in their offspring, to better counsel them during their reproductive years.