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Hum Reprod. 1996 Mar;11(3):558-60.

Ageing and sperm function.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University of Bonn, Germany.


To evaluate the fertilizing capacity of spermatozoa from elderly men, ejaculates from 29 older fathers (mean age 50.3 years) were compared with those from 35 younger fathers (mean age 32.2 years). In addition to conventional semen parameters, sperm functions were studied that have been reported to be positively correlated with the fertilization rate: progressive motility, acrosin activity, inducible acrosome reaction, and chromosome condensation. Sperm concentration and follicle stimulating hormone concentration differed significantly in both groups. With regard to sperm functions there were no differences between older men and younger men, except for decreased sperm motility in the older group which, however, reached nearly normal values according to World Health Organization criteria. Decreased fertility of older couples is obviously more dependent on the age of the female partner. The significance of genetic risks remains to be clarified, especially when methods of assisted reproduction are applied.

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