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Men May Have Biological Clocks, Too

Some researchers say a man's age may affect not only his ability to father a child -- but the health of his offspring.

What Men Can Do continued...

He tells WebMD that until there is a study that controls for all the variables -- which may be impossible -- all we have are assumptions and no proof.

"These are observations worth noting, but to say 'Aha, this is the answer' -- well that's a real stretch," says McCullough.

Silverman comments that while the evidence may be too new to draw finite conclusions, he says the findings thus far are relevant and a portent of things to come.

"Eventually I believe we will have the research to show that when it comes to fathering a child, time isn't always on a man's side," says Silverman.

In the meantime, as embryologist McCulloh points out, every man can protect his parenting potential at any age by taking better care of his overall health.

McCulloh tells WebMD, "If you don't smoke, drink in moderation, exercise daily, and eat a healthy diet, you are likely to remain healthier in general -- and that means a healthier reproductive system overall."

Protecting the Health of Sperm

Experts also say men can take additional steps to protect the health of their sperm as well as their potency, at every age. Try the following:

  • Avoid steroid use. Muculloh says it's one of the most prominent causes of infertility in men.
  • Control blood pressure. If you are already taking medication for hypertension and thinking about fathering a child, tell your doctor. Muculloh says certain blood pressure medications can be detrimental to sperm.
  • Reduce alcohol intake, particularly in the three months prior to conceiving.
  • Get adequate cardiovascular exercise. The healthier your heart is the less likely you are to develop circulatory problems linked to impotence.
  • Limit the use of a notebook computer directly on your lap, as well as other sources of high heat, including hot tubs and Jacuzzis.
  • Avoid exposure to heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, as well as radiation and toxic chemicals, including some pesticides.

Published Sept. 25, 2006.

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Reviewed on September 25, 2006

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