Does that sound a little strange? Well, it shouldn’t. Men and women both experience a “biological clock” for their fertility. It’s not just your birth age that matters. Your habits and environment can speed up your biological aging. All that means your reproductive health timeline could be shorter than you think.
Biological age needs to be part of your planning for a future family.
This is just a very specific way of saying “how old you are” as in, how many years since you were born. It’s the standard age we all think about.
On its own, age can already have strong impacts on overall health and fertility. Women are most fertile in their teens and 20s, with fertility declining sharply in their 30s and 40s. Men experience declines in sperm quality starting in their 30s, and experience an increase in risk for genetic conditions in their children.
So, if you know how old you are, and you already know you’re getting older, what is your biological age? Why does it matter?
Your biological age is a measure of how your body functions at a cellular level. It’s a measure of aging, the process by which your body changes. Aging is not the same experience for everyone. Some people age at a faster rate than others.
Aging is set in your genetics, and you can’t change that. But you can change your lifestyle and habits, and these changes affect DNA methylation. DNA methylation is an epigenetic process. Epi means “on top of”, so on top of your DNA. Your DNA is covered in proteins that control gene expression. That means you can change how your genetic instructions are carried out, and you may be able to slow down, or speed up, your biological aging.
People age at different rates. Now combine that with the fact that age impacts male fertility, and you can see why it is difficult for men to really understand the impact of age on their reproductive health. You may think it is fine to wait until forty before considering children, but what happens if your body has other plans and your fertility is in a worse state than you realized?
We have developed a method for examining DNA methylation in sperm at certain genes important for aging. This technology powers Path, our sperm age calculator.
Path shows you how your sperm is aging, and helps you understand the lifestyle factors that may be affecting your sperm age. We’ll combine your two ages with a timeline highlighting age-associated fertility risks. Then we add in your family goals to help you decide on the right time to start trying.