Until puberty, which occurs generally between the ages of ten and twelve, nothing happens with regards to male fertility. But the numbers once puberty is reached are rather staggering. The onset of puberty and testosterone brings with it a daily sperm production count of 200 million. It can take up to 72 days though for a single sperm to fully mature. The first two to 12 days can be taken up with the task of making it through the epididymis, a 20-foot-long series of coiled tubes in the human male body.
Both men and women reach the peak of their fertility in their 20s, which is a tad ironic, since that is the age when many members of both genders are still far from wanting to settle down with a single partner. For men, though, the news is good in their 30s, as the fertility level for them remains at about the same clip as it was at their peak twenties.
In fact, men remain highly fertile into their 40s, which makes evolutionary sense. The idea is that men are biologically framed to be able to procreate over the span of several decades.
On the other hand, a new study shows that sperm counts have fallen drastically over the past five decades in industrialized countries. As man as one in five males between the ages of 18 and 25 can now be classified as sub-fertile.
Combined with the trend of women having babies at an older age, the drop in male fertility is a big reason why so many couples now have trouble conceiving. Even more alarming is the study’s prediction that the downward fertility trend will continue into future generations, requiring country-wide action plans to mitigate the impact. The drop in male fertility also corresponds to higher incidence rates of testicular cancer and physiological abnormalities in the area of the groin.
PBS – Fertility Through Life, Retrieved December 2, 2010 from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/baby/fert_text.html
Top News – “Male Sperm Quality To Be Blamed For Low Couple Fertility Rates”, November 29, 2010, Retrieved December 2, 2010 from http://topnews.us/content/229514-male-sperm-quality-be-blamed-low-couple-fertility-rates