There’s no shortage of celebrities who’ve fathered kids after 50. The roll-call of old dads includes Mick Jagger (at 73), Jeff Goldblum (64), Rod Stewart (66), Hugh Grant (51), Michael Douglas (58) and Robert De Niro (68).
But a new study reveals that male fertility nosedives at the age of 51 when men hit the “menopause”.
Researchers analysed pregnancy rates for 4271 men at an IVF clinic in London. They found those aged 51 and over were less likely to conceive – even with young partners. This is the same age at which an average woman hits menopause.
The study found that 49.9 per cent of under-35s achieved pregnancy but only 30.5 per cent of the over-51s. The rates also plummeted between these age groups.
In addition, semen analysis revealed that older men were a third less likely to meet sperm quality standards. This may explain why older men are greater risk of having kids with autism and schizophrenia.
“Men’s sperm seems to be unaffected by their age right up to the age of 50, which is when there is a significant decline. said study leader Dr Guy Morris, from University College London.
“There may well be a public perception that male fertility is independent of age.
“Stories of celebrity men fathering children into their sixties may give a skewed perspective on the potential risks of delaying fatherhood.
“Our data certainly support the importance of educating men about their fertility and the risks of delaying fatherhood.”