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Male age interferes with embryo growth in IVF treatment

Does male age affect embryo growth or quality in couples undergoing IVF treatment?

Literature shows that Advanced paternal age (APA) is associated with decreased sperm quality and fecundity. However, the effect of male age on embryo growth in an IVF setting remains inconclusive. Literature concerning male influences on IVF success is scarce and approaches used to analyse embryo outcomes differ by study.


This study was part of the longitudinal Epigenetic Legacy of Paternal Obesity (ELPO) study for which fathers and mothers were followed from pre-pregnancy until the birth of their child. Couples were recruited from April 2015 to September 2017. A total of 1057 embryos from 87 couples were studied.

Dutch-speaking couples planning to undergo an IVF treatment were recruited at the Leuven University Fertility Center in Flanders, Belgium. Anthropometrics were documented and compared to the general Flemish population. Semen characteristics, pregnancy rates and the following embryo characteristics were recorded: number of blastomeres, symmetry and percentage fragmentation.

The scientists observed a significant inverse association between APA and a key determinant for scoring of embryo quality: older men were less likely to produce an embryo of eight blastomeres at Day 3, compared to younger fathers.

Because of the study’s small sample size and its monocentric nature, a larger study is warranted to confirm the results. The scientists suggest a heightened need for future research into male age and its potential effects on embryo growth, embryo quality and ART outcomes. Clinical decision-making and preventative public health programmes would benefit from a better understanding of the role of men, carried forward by the Paternal Origins of Health and Disease (POHaD) paradigm.

What would you comment on the age of men in relation to the above article?

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