Older sperm donors reduce pregnancy success

October 4, 2013 by Rebecca Graham, Science Network WA

The increasing amount of sperm donors over the age of 45 years appears to be adversely affecting the clinical pregnancy success rates of women undergoing donor insemination (DI).

The finding was uncovered in research by UWA School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology PhD candidate Su-Ann Koh, who was interested in investigating the effect of paternal on fertility.

Since the introduction of an open-identity program in WA in December 2004, sperm donors in the 40–45 year age group have been steadily increasing.

"While there is strong evidence that open-identity donor programmes are beneficial for donor families, the consequences of an ageing cohort, in terms of pregnancy success, have not been identified until now," Ms Koh says.

"Given that previous research suggests male age may adversely affect fertility, we postulated that when controlling for female age, older sperm donors would be associated with a decreased pregnancy rate per cycle undertaken.

"[We also hypothesised] it would take a greater number of cycles to achieve a clinical pregnancy with recipients."

The researchers analysed 2142 DI cycles from 181 male donors and 456 female recipients collected at Concept Fertility Centre, Perth, between 1994 and 2011.

Females were less than 40 years-old with no known fertility problems, while all male donors had to satisfy the World Health Organisation's standards for semen quality, including motility and concentration.

Older male donors aged 45 years and over (50 being the cut off age) were significantly associated with decreased DI success rates in women less than 40 years.

This was observed both in clinical per cycle (defined as a fetal heartbeat 6–7 weeks post fertilisation), and also time to achieve pregnancy.

"There appears to be a threshold effect of … [and this impact] was not solely mediated via an age-related decrease in sperm concentration or motility, which are known to be predictive measures of DI success," Ms Koh says.

"This suggests that sperm quality in older men is compromised via some other mechanism, ultimately affecting clinical pregnancy."

In light of results, Ms Koh suggests encouraging recruitment of younger sperm donors given the increasing trend of older donor cohorts in open-identity systems like WA.

She recommends further investigation of "other mechanisms that could be mediating the age-related decrease in DI pregnancy success, [such as] oxidative stress and sperm DNA damage".

"Future studies should also consider longer-term outcome measures such as live birth rates and the health of any live born children."

Explore further: IVF success for one in two under 35, but failure after five cycles

More information: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23768621%20

Related Stories

IVF success for one in two under 35, but failure after five cycles

August 30, 2013
The first national report into the cumulative success of IVF has shown there is little chance of pregnancy after the fifth round of treatment, regardless of a woman's age.

Researchers identify genetic markers to predict male fertility

May 23, 2012
A study performed by scientists at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and the Puigvert Foundation has identified a gene expression fingerprint associated with very low pregnancy rates in semen donors with normal ...

Assisted reproduction for same-sex male couples and single men examined

July 3, 2013
Elsevier today announced the publication of a recent retrospective study in Reproductive BioMedicine Online to better understand treatment considerations and outcomes for same-sex male couples and single men when using assisted ...

Early life and in utero factors found to influence testicular function in adulthood

July 8, 2013
Studies over the past 20 years have suggested (though not unequivocally confirmed) that semen quality is in decline, reflected most evidently in falling sperm counts and reduced sperm motility.(1) The explanations have been ...

Recommended for you

Women taking probiotics during pregnancy might have lower pre-eclampsia and premature birth risk

January 24, 2018
Probiotics taken during pregnancy might help lower the risks of pre-eclampsia and premature birth, suggests observational research in the online journal BMJ Open. But timing may be crucial, the findings indicate.

Essure female sterilization device appears safe: study

January 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—Essure implants used in female sterilization have come under fire in recent years, with women reporting a wide array of problems to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Premature births linked to changes in mother's bacteria

January 23, 2018
Changes to the communities of microbes living in the reproductive tract of pregnant women could help to spot those at risk of giving birth prematurely.

Study shows how fetal infections may cause adult heart disease

January 23, 2018
Recent studies have shown that infants born prematurely have a higher risk of developing heart disease later in life. Now, a study led by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle shows that, ...

Rise in preterm births linked to clinical intervention

January 18, 2018
Research at the University of Adelaide shows preterm births in South Australia have increased by 40 percent over 28 years and early intervention by medical professionals has resulted in the majority of the increase.

New report calls into question effectiveness of pregnancy anti-nausea drug

January 17, 2018
Previously unpublished information from the clinical trial that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relied on to approve the most commonly prescribed medicine for nausea in pregnancy indicates the drug is not effective, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.