'Freeze sperm at 18' to avoid risks linked to later fatherhood, says expert

British bioethicist says sperm-banking should be encouraged as men increasingly have children later in life

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The Independent Online

State-supported sperm banking should be the norm for all 18-year-olds because of the risks attached to being an older father, according to a British bioethicist.

An article on the BBC website quotes Dr Kevin Smith, from Abertay University in Dundee, as saying the sperm of all 18-year-olds should be frozen for use in later life.

The sperm of older men contains a greater number of mutations, increasing the genetic disorders.

As men increasingly have children later in their lives, Dr Smith suggests that sperm-banking should become routine for 18-year-olds.

As men have children later in life, a bioethicist is encouraging them to freeze their sperm when they are younger (Getty)

Government data shows that since the mid-1990s men most commonly have children when they are aged between 30 and 34.

But Dr Smith's suggestion has been criticised by a fertility expert as frozen sperm is less fertile than its fresh equivalent and couples would be dependent on IVF.

The BBC article quotes Professor Adam Balen, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, as saying: "Not only does it provide a very artificial approach to procreation, but also a false sense of security as the technology does not guarantee a baby."

He suggested instead encouraging greater support for young couples to work and have children.