Research is exploring many of the whys and how’s of decreased sperm production and maturity with age. As a result, many explanations have been uncovered.
"Men experience an age-related decrease in testicular size and in sperm production," says Dr. Silber. "In some men, there is a decline in testosterone production that becomes noticeable after the age of 40. The loss of testosterone can result in a decrease in bone and muscle mass in the aging male, the loss of sex-drive, the decreased ability of the body to produce and mature sperm cells, as well as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Both the decrease in testosterone and the decrease in sperm production cause an age-related decrease in fertility. In addition, sperm may also be affected by repeated ejaculation decreasing the secretions of the glands, the decrease of the number of hormones and the weakening of the sexual muscles."
some of the most common effects of age on the sperm that is produced include the following:
- Decreased Motility: Sperm that has not matured will not have the adequate motility to reach and penetrate the egg. In addition, with age comes a decreased ability to have strong ejaculations, thus, decreasing the distance that the sperm will travel upon ejaculation.
- Decreased Strength: Immature sperm will not have the needed strength to travel the distance to the egg, nor the needed strength to penetrate the membrane for fertilization.
- Decreased Potency: The force of the ejaculatory squirt in young men is often powerful and can eject the sperm some distance. The force of the squirt, propelled by the powerful contraction of the bulbocavernosus muscles, is much less in older men than in younger men. Thus, in every measurable way male potency is clearly affected by age.
- Altered Genetic Make-Up: As men age, sperm cells can accumulate mutations that are passed to offspring. Regardless of age, sperm continues to reproduce through division. If a sperm becomes altered or mutates, any other sperm that is produced by the natural division will also be altered or mutated. Each successive division introduces a slight risk of error in the genetic material of the new sperm, which is passed on to the children.