Friday, November 23, 2007
Medical Reports: Men-o-pause
It's common knowledge that as women get older, their reproductive days are numbered, but are there age limits for men too? In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz tells us why women may not be the only ones racing against the clock.
WSVN -- At 40 and hoping to have her first child, Lisa Miller hears her biological clock ticking.
Lisa Miller: "You almost want to hurry up, let's go and get started and move forward."
Her husband Gary, on the other hand, isn't concerned. He is 57.
Gary Miller: "Honestly, I'm never really worried about it."
But now some doctors are saying there just might be reason to worry. Though the conventional wisdom is men can have children well into old age, a new medical consensus is emerging: time waits for no man.
Dr. Peter Schlegel: "Men do have a biological clock."
Recent studies suggest the older a man gets, the greater the chances are his partner will miscarry. The risks that his children will be born with birth defects or psychological disorders also increase.
Dr. Peter Schlegel: "They have an increased rate of having children with schizophrenia, autism, some developmental issues, as well."
Experts believe the male reproductive organs are subject to aging, just like any other organ in the body. Starting in their forties, men experience a very gradual decline in fertility and an increase in genetic errors in their semen. This leads to the rise in birth defects, but still, couples should not panic.
Dr. Peter Schlegel: "Your absolute risk of having a child with birth defects or problems is extremely small."
And that's a relief to the Millers. Though the clock may be ticking, they remain hopeful.
Gary Miller: "It's something we wanted to do. Hopefully, it's not too late."
Christine Cruz: "Also, doctors say that while the decline in fertility for men is slow, it's important to maintain their reproductive health by exercising moderately, eating a healthy diet and avoiding exposure to excess heat, jacuzzis and hot tubs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Weill Cornell Medical Center
1300 York Avenue, Box 144
New York, NY 10021