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Men urged by expert to freeze sperm at the age of 18

By David Mercer

Freezing the sperm of all 18-year-old men should be considered because of the risks of having children in later life, a British expert has claimed.

Kevin Smith, from Abertay University in Dundee, said sperm becomes more prone to mutations with age, increasing the risk of genetic disorders.

He said state-funded universal sperm-banking "offers a straightforward solution", but another expert at the University of Sheffield branded the idea "simply crackers".

In a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr Smith said he was not claiming that children from older fathers were "worse off" but they more likely to suffer from genetic diseases.

"In principle, it would be straightforward for young men (aged perhaps 18) to elect to have their sperm stored until starting a family at an older age, thus avoiding a build-up of new mutations," he wrote. "Sperm banking offers a straightforward solution to the problem of paternal age effect genetic disease."

But Allan Pacey, a professor at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is one of the most ridiculous suggestions I have heard in a long time. The idea that mass sperm banking for 18-year-olds should be funded by the NHS is simply crackers, in my opinion."

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