It's not just women who have to worry about declining fertility, with a new study suggesting that men's ability to have children also drops sharply in their 40s
The ticking biological clock has historically been a weight on the shoulders of women but a new study has found that male fertility also declines with age.
Analysis of patients at an infertility clinic found that the chances of a man getting a woman pregnant drops by seven per cent each year between the age of 41 and 45, and reduces even further in older men.
Lead researcher Dr Paula Fettback, of the Huntingdon Reproductive Medicine Centre in Brazil says: ‘Of course it’s not the same as for women, but men can’t wait forever. After 45 if they haven’t, they have to start thinking about having children.’
Until now the pressure has been on women to start a family before 40 but the study reveals that if a man waits until he is 45 to have a family, his chances of producing offspring drop to just 35 per cent.
This leaves men and women with the dilemma of weighing up the odds of starting a family when their bodies are at their most fertile or taking in to account other important factors such as career and finances.
Charles Kingsland, a consultant gynaecologist at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and leading member of the British Fertility Society, says: ‘There are lots of advantages to being a younger father; first and foremost you have more energy, but being an older father does confer certain advantages such as stability, wisdom and maybe a bit more financial security.’