Aging and fertility don’t mix well – just ask any woman who’s ever considered freezing her eggs in the hope of having a baby in years to come.
But now men are getting in on it too, with a New York urologist dubbed "the sperm whisperer" seeing a dramatic rise in the number of men who are freezing their sperm for use later in life.
Dr Joseph Alukal, who the New York Post labelled a “superstar sperm doc”, says that a recent study has made men more aware of the risks associated with becoming a dad later in life.
The study, published in science journal Nature, showed from about the age of 20, every year that a man waits to procreate increases the number of mutations their progeny will carry by two mutations. It's been linked to children of older dads having a higher chance of autism and schizophrenia.
Dr Alukal says that since the study was reported in the media, he’s had an influx of patients who want to freeze their sperm “just in case”.
“People keep asking me, ‘Doc, should I freeze my sperm? What if I meet the right girl 10 or 15 years from now?’ It’s absolutely something I’m seeing more of in my office,” he told the New York Post.
“[It can be] a single guy thinking, ‘Am I around the corner from finding my partner and starting a family? … Or am I married to my job?”
Of course, as with freezing eggs, it can be an expensive process. It costs around $500 upfront, with storage fees ranging from $450 a year to $2550 for 10 years.
As a result, Dr Alukal’s clients are predominantly successful, professional men. “A number of my patients are banking and finance types, architects, physicians,” he said.
But why, out of all the urologists and doctors in New York – and, in fact, the world – has Dr Alukal been given the crown of “sperm whisperer”, the go-to guy for your all your frozen sperm needs?
While he sits on the US board of the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction, it seems his personality has a lot to do with it, too. Another American male health specialist, Dr Marc Siegel, says that Dr Alukal is “the guy you’d want to have a beer with”.
“Someone with fertility concerns would someone who’s sensitive, strong and confident, and that’s Joe.
“He’s a superstar and a man’s man.”