More DNA Damage to Older Men's Sperm

Findings have implications for middle-aged, wanna-be dads

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TUESDAY, June 21, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Older men have much more sperm DNA damage than young men do, which reduces their chances of fathering children, a Canadian study finds.

The study of over 2,100 men found that injury to sperm DNA was significantly higher in men over 45 years old than in all younger age groups. Men over 45 years had double the sperm DNA damage compared with men younger than 30 years old.

The research was presented Tuesday at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Copenhagen.

The findings are particularly important given the societal increase in the average age of men and women first attempting to have children, noted researcher Dr. Sergey Moskovtsev of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

"Older men tend to reproduce with older women and the combination of increased female factor infertility, increased sperm DNA damage, low levels of DNA repair, and increased abnormalities in conventional semen parameters present in this [older male] population will have a pronounced impact on their reproductive potential," Moskovtsev said in a prepared statement.

"We need to investigate the possibility of developing techniques to identify and select sperm without DNA damage for use in assisted reproductive technologies," the Toronto expert said.

More information:

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about age-related changes in the male reproductive system.

SOURCE: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, news release, June 21, 2005

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