Reproductive Functions in Grandfathers

  • Eberhard Nieschlag
  • Erik Michel


Information on the reproductive functions of older men is scanty. The average age of men attending infertility clinics is around 30 years and only a few of these patients are older than 40 years. This indicates that the desire to procreate children is not very pronounced in advanced age and is, rather, restricted to younger ages. Moreover, only few children are born to marriages in which the husband is beyond the sixth decade of life; for example of all 568, 000 children born in 1982 in the Federal Republic of Germany, only 142 were registered in marriages with husbands over 60 years old. This might be interpreted as an indication of reduced reproductive capacities, not only on the side of the female partner, but also on the male side. In addition, our society very often assumes that sexual activity is neither possible nor necessary for elderly men. “From a psychosocial point of view the male over age 50 has to contend with one of the great fallacies of our culture. Every man in this age group is arbitrarily identified by both public and professional alike as sexually impaired” (Masters and Johnson, 1981). Does this bias reflect physiology?


Leydig Cell Serum Testosterone Reproductive Function Serum Testosterone Level Testicular Volume 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eberhard Nieschlag
    • 1
  • Erik Michel
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Clinical Research Unit for Reproductive Medicine and Department of Experimental EndocrinologyUniversity Women’s HospitalMünsterFederal Republic of Germany

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