Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Sperm DNA Changes as Men Age

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Sperm DNA Changes as Men Age

Article excerpt

Wyrobek AJ, Eskenazi B, Young S, Arnheim N, Tiemann-Boege I, Jabs EW, et al. 2006. Advancing age has differential effects on DNA damage, chromatin integrity, gene mutations, and aneuploidies in sperm. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:9601-9606.

In the past several decades, more men and women have been postponing parenthood. Fatherhood among men aged 35-49 has increased 40%, while there has been a 20% decline in births fathered by men under age 30. Although it has long been accepted that women face reproductive challenges with age, the consequences of delaying fatherhood have been less understood. Now NIEHS grantees Andrew J. Wyrobek of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Brenda Eskenazi of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, with their colleagues, have produced new research that suggests that, like women, men too have a "biological clock," but one that causes a more gradual change in fertility.

Obstetrician/gynecologists have known for quite a while that as women age, their risk of miscarriage increases, as does the risk of having children with Down syndrome or other genetic defects. Advanced paternal age has also been implicated in a range of reproductive and genetic abnormalities, from reduced fertility to some diseases of complex etiology such as schizophrenia. This research team has previously reported that as men age, their sperm counts decline and their sperm become less active. …

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