Banking Sperm by Young Men Is Becoming More Popular
By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent for CNN
William Hudson has yet to meet the future Mrs. William Hudson, and so he’s not taking any chances: When he was 28, he froze his sperm.
Hudson has read the science suggesting that older men are less fertile than younger men and that when they do father a child, that child is more likely to have a whole host of health problems.
“I’m not getting any younger,” said Hudson, now 30. “I banked my sperm because I wanted to have the option of using younger sperm later in life.”
Hudson is one of a small but growing group of single young men banking sperm who’ve chosen to store their sperm, just as single young women have stored their eggs.
A few dozen men like him have ponied up $450 a year to store their sperm at California Cryobank out of fear of advanced paternal age, according to Scott Brown, the bank’s communications director.
“It’s still pretty rare at this point,” Brown said. “But it is a small trend.”
How Sperm Age
Hudson’s “aha moment” came when he was a producer for CNN.
“I reported on a big study that came out in 2014, and I thought a lot about it, and a few months later, I went and banked my own sperm,” he said.
That study, of 2.6 million Swedish children, found that children of older fathers were more likely to have certain psychiatric disorders.
When the fathers were 45 and older, their children were three times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, 13 times more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder than the children of fathers 20 to 24.
Later, Hudson got even more steeped in the study of sperm.
He left CNN to go to Yale Law School, where he wrote an award-winning article about sperm storage for the Food and Drug Law Journal.
In it, he chronicles more than half a decade’s worth of research linking older sperm to health problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that the offspring of men older than 40 might face an increased risk of autism and schizophrenia as well as birth defects, such as the bone growth disorder achondroplasia.
One explanation is that as sperm age, they develop more genetic mutations. Researchers in Iceland looking at 78 families found that 20-year-old fathers passed on an average of 25 mutations, but 40-year-old fathers passed on 65 mutations, an increase of two new mutations per year.
The Mayo Clinic also points out that older men have a slightly more difficult time conceiving a child.
That finding is not surprising given that semen volume, sp