Oldest Italian fathers in Europe: the average age for the first child is almost 36

Oldest Italian fathers in Europe: the average age for the first child is almost 36


Becoming a father for the first time is an experience that Italian men continue to move further and further forward in time, more than is done in other European countries. The most recent Istat data indicate, in fact, that in Italy one becomes a father on average at 35.8 years, while in France at 33.9 years, in Germany at 33.2, in England and Wales at 33.7 years. An increasingly frequent phenomenon compared to the past which would concern around 70% of new Italian fathers: this means that 1 man in 3 is still childless over the age of 36.

A tendency to delay fatherhood which is not without consequences: numerous scientific evidence demonstrates that the functional characteristics of the sperm, i.e. motility, morphology and also DNA damage, worsen with increasing age. Added to all this is the fact that as age advances, the time of exposure to external environmental pollutants increases, such as microplastics which in recent years have proven to be a significant problem for male fertility. Furthermore, climate changes with the increase in global temperature also have a negative impact on male fertility, demonstrated by the volumetric reduction of testicles in the general population.

For this reason, in view of Father’s Day, the experts of the Italian Society of Andrology (SIA) put the spotlight on the importance of anticipating paternity and, where not possible, of preserving fertility from a young age, mainly through a healthy style of life, but also with the contribution of natural extraction substances capable of offering protection against the damage of time and external environmental pollutants.

The reasons for the postponement

“In Italy the age at which you have your first child has increased by 10 years, going from 25 at the end of the 1990s to around 36 today, which places our country at the top of the ranking of the average age of conception in Europe. A phenomenon that concerns almost 70% of new Italian fathers. It follows that 1 man in 3, once this threshold is exceeded, is still childless. This means that in the space of a few decades we have moved from a situation in which only one a small minority arrived without children at the age of 35, to a point in which the majority of the male population postpones the first experience of fatherhood beyond this age threshold – he declares Alessandro Palmieri, President of SIA and Professor of Urology at the Federico II University of Naples”.

A delay that can be attributed to various cultural, economic and biological reasons, but also to the lengthening of life which in women does not, however, influence the reproductive possibility which remains unchanged at around the age of 50. “All this contributes to making men more inclined to postpone fatherhood, even reaching extremes that even exceed 45-50 years, so they will be fathers-grandfathers before the child becomes an adult – underlines Palmieri -. Our society is assigning a late role to reproduction, forgetting that fertility, both male and female, has its maximum peak between the ages of 20 and 30 and that the fertilizing potential of the male is in clear decline – specifies Palmieri – Today with economic difficulties, everyone finds themselves forced to delay and wait to settle down before having children. As age advances, however, fertility decreases because the sperm also ‘age’ and the younger generations must be taught the importance of healthy fertility at the right time which must be preserved from a young age.”


To this end, SIA, in collaboration with the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Catanzaro, has developed a new supplement, the first tailor-made for him, created by an Italian scientific company with positive effects on men’s health in general, including fertility. This compound also arises from the need to offer patients concrete help with food supplementation where changing lifestyles is not always feasible and effective, thanks to beneficial effects documented in a recent review of studies on the seven substances published in the journal Uro.

“The purpose of modern medicine is not only to cure but above all to prevent and from this concept – he explains Thomas Cai director of the Urology Unit of the Trento Hospital and secretary of the Italian Society of Andrology – the compound called Drolessano was born, a mix of 7 natural substances, two of which have specific effects on male fertility. This is escin extracted from the seeds and shell of the horse chestnut, a powerful antioxidant useful in preserving fertility, but also for preventing the symptoms of chronic prostatitis, a pathology which is also implicated in the reduction of male fertility. The other substance ‘allied’ to male fertility is lycopene, a nutrient present in tomatoes, which according to a study by the University of Sheffield, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, could increase sperm quality and combat male infertility , protecting against the harmful effects of free radicals”.

Elderly fathers: the risks

Men who delay fatherhood, especially after the age of 45, not only face fertility problems but can also put the health of the newborn at risk. “While it is known that for women after the age of 35 there can be physiological changes that affect conception, pregnancy and child health, most men are not aware of the impact of age due not only to the natural decline in testosterone , but also to the loss of ‘physical form’ of the spermatozoa which can also lead to changes in the sperm that are transmitted from parents to children in their DNA – continues Cai – It is well documented that conceiving at an advanced age carries the risk of the child being born or develop health problems over time.”

Genetic mutations

According to a study published in Nature, every year more of the father would lead to an increase of 1.51 new genetic mutations in the children, 25% more than those that depend on the mother. Another study, also published in Nature, suggests that children of elderly fathers have a higher risk of autism and schizophrenia in their children.

“Ultimately, just as female fertility, male fertility is also time-dependent – concludes Palmieri -. It is therefore essential to dispel the myth of the fertile man at all ages and instead promote information, prevention and preservation strategies for male fertility , starting from a young age, since once established the damage is not reversible”.


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