Does Sperm Count Decrease As You Age?
The decrease in fertility that comes with aging is often much more apparent in women than it is in men. With women, it is easier to measure fertility without lab tests. If a woman has entered menopause, for example, she is no longer ovulating and then therefore cannot conceive. With men, fertility does decrease in old age as well, although it isn’t necessarily permanent and it is almost never obvious without lab tests. Even a man’s sperm count decreases as they get older.
The decrease in sperm count that comes with old age in men is much more of a gradual thing than it is with women. Men’s ability to produce healthy and viable offspring decreases at a regular pace as they get further and further into old age. The fact is, however, that the sperm count decrease in old age that occurs can vary greatly from one man to the next man. Some men may have a relatively high sperm count well into their 80s. However, this seems to be the exception, rather than the rule when it comes to the decrease in sperm count in old age.
There are other fertility problems that occur as men get older, as well. In old age, there is a decrease in the quality of sperm that a man produces. For example, genetic mutations such as dwarfism are much more common in old age than they are in younger men who conceive. In addition, sperm motility seems to decrease in old age as well. Sperm motility refers to the percentage of sperm that are moving forward at a rate at which they could reach the fallopian tubes while still viable. A sperm motility of 50% is considered normal. Sperm motility can decrease to well below 50% in old age.
There are, of course, other factors that can cause sperm count to decrease. Smoking, alcohol abuse, and even infection can cause a decrease in sperm count well before a man is in his later years. In some cases, a low sperm count might plague a man all of his life, due to perhaps a genetic cause. Still, most men will not experience that much of a decrease in sperm count until they get over the age of 30 or so.