It’s a question we hear all of the time: how does age affect male fertility?

Mel Gibson is on child number nine at age 60, but he isn’t the first older man to grow his brood. Charlie Chaplin had another son at age 73 and Larry King had another child at age 66. Keep in mind that in all of these instances, their wives were considerably younger than they were.

The truth is that no two men are alike with respect to fertility. It’s important to note that infertility diagnoses are evenly split between men and women – male fertility is very common.

Men may lose their fertility when they get older, but it’s not for the same reasons that women do. Additional health issues that arise with age, as well as the medications required to treat them, can impact fertility.

Mostly we hear about increasing maternal age increasing the risk for genetic problems, but there are also some autosomal dominant conditions that are increased with growing paternal age. The most well known is achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism.

If a man is at an optimal weight, active, eats healthily and abstains from excess alcohol (and of course, no smoking) there is a good chance he may be fertile. If an issue with sperm production is present, it takes 10 weeks for sperm to be produced, allowing sperm production issues to be resolved in a relatively short amount of time once a diagnosis has been made.

Curious about the other factors that hurt male fertility?

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