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Scientist urges young men to freeze sperm

Young men should think about freezing their sperm to avoid their children having genetic disorders if they have them later in life

According to an expert, the sperm of an older man could have a greater number of mutations that could pose a risk to future offspring.

Bioethicist Kevin Smith from Abertay University in Dundee, believes the process should be considered for sperm to avoid the risk of “gradually reducing human fitness in the long term”.

For many women, the concept of freezing eggs to use when they are older is not unusual.

In his paper Dr Smith adds: “If demographic trends towards later fatherhood continue, this will likely lead to more children suffering from genetic disorders.

“A trend of later fatherhood will accelerate the accumulation of paternal-origin de novo mutations (genetic causes of disease) in the gene pool, gradually reducing human fitness in the long term.

“These risks suggest that paternal age is of ethical importance.”

He added that options to counter the risk include health education to promote earlier fatherhood and “incentives for young sperm donors and state-supported universal sperm banking”.

“The latter approach would likely be of the greatest benefit and could in principle be implemented immediately.”

Dr Smith also went on to say that people in their 40s might want to use frozen sperm and that it should be banked ideally around the age of 18.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics the mean age of all fathers at the birth of their child has increased by nearly two years over the last two decades.

The average age in 2013 was 32, up from 31 years in 1993.

The standardised mean age of a mother increased by a similar amount over the same period, from 27 in 1993 to 30 in 2013.

Among a number of celebrities who have become fathers later in life include Rod Stewart at 66, Sir Paul McCartney at 61, Clint Eastwood at 66, and Frank Skinner at 55.

Meanwhile, another expert claims that the risks of genetic disorders from older sperm are “really quite small” and are most likely to affect men aged over 45.

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