The effect of age on the frequency of sperm chromosomal abnormalities in normal men

R. H. Martin, A. W. Rademaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that advanced paternal age (independent of maternal age) is associated with an increased incidence of trisomy. However, studies of human liveborn offspring and of data from prenatal diagnosis have yielded conflicting results. To investigate this possible paternal age effect, we have studied sperm chromosome complements from 30 normal men of proven fertility stratified by age, with five males in each of six age categories (20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, and 45+ years). Sperm chromosome complements were visualized after penetration of golden-hamster oocytes. A minimum of 30 complements were analyzed for each male. The analysis was performed blindly, without knowledge of the donor's age. The mean frequency of sperm chromosomal abnormalities in the individual men was 10.4% with means of 4.7% for numerical abnormalities and 6.2% for structural abnormalities. There was no relationship between age and the frequency of numerical abnormalities in sperm. Since there was a significant difference between the frequency of hyperhaploid and hypohaploid complements, these two types of numerical abnormalities were analyzed separately. There was no correlation between the frequency of hypohaploid complements and age. There was a significant negative correlation between age and the frequency of hyperhaploid complements. For structural abnormalities, there was a highly significant positive correlation with age. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of an increased risk of trisomy with paternal age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-492
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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