Experts in the UK are advising young men to save their sperm, saying that if frozen at 18 years of age and used later to conceive it would avoid the issues associated with being an aging father.
Sperm is more likely to have genetic problems at an older age. There are increased risks for neurological and mental disorders.
Sperm-banking needs to "become the norm,” said Dr. Kevin Smith of Abertay University in Dundee. The British Fertility Society claimed it could "provide a very artificial approach to procreation.”
Information shows that men are reproducing later in life in the UK. The average father in England and Wales is 33, it was once 31 in the early 1990s.
However, there are potential consequences to having children at an older age. Smith said that even small risks could become more significant when spread over the country. "I think on a society-wide basis, we do need to worry about it - it is a very real and pronounced effect,” he said.
He proposes adding sperm banking to the British National Health Service (NHS) so that older men can have children with younger sperm. He said there would be no limitations on men who wanted to have children at any age, but that many may want to retrieve their frozen sperm if given the option.
Costs of banking sperm are about $300 each year for private storage, but it would be cheaper if NHS began offering it.
Not everyone is on board however. "This is one of the most ridiculous suggestions I have heard in a long time,” said Allan Pacey, an andrology professor at the University of Sheffield. He said the risks were too small to worry about, and that most sperm doesn’t freeze well, thus this would force women to undergo more procedures in order to get pregnant.
The overall idea most can agree upon is that having children is best done at a younger age, but some may want to consider freezing young sperm to have children when they are older.