Smoking – How it Affects Female And Male Fertility
Smoking, in general, is not good for your health. It’s because of the harmful side effects brought to the smoker including the people around. However, if you have concerns about its impact to fertility, you should know of great risk on both male and female smokers.
Side Effects of Smoking on the Male Sperm and Semen
According to studies on male smoking, the sperm and semen quality can suffer. Here are some of the health aspects in question.
Smoking can decrease up to 23% the sperm count of male smokers.
From a meta-analysis report of the European Urology organization, over 5,000 men in Europe exhibits the side effect to be slower sperm motility. Sperm motility refers to how the sperm swim. If the sperm cannot swim properly, there is difficulty in reaching the egg and fertilizing it. Researchers discovered that male smokers’ sperm motility slows down to 13%.
Sperm morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. It has a negative effect on male’s sperm health, particularly to heavier smokers. If the sperm has an odd shape, they cannot swim efficiently to get to the egg fast and fertilize it.
Some studies discovered that males who smoke have a higher risk of increasing DNA fragmentation. As a result, the bad sperms may encounter issues on fertilization, development of the embryo, implantation of embryo and miscarriage. Male smokers may encounter abnormal hormone levels affecting fertility.
Side Effects of Smoking on Female Fertility
Smoking can affect female smokers trying to conceive due to the risk of developing these fertility problems.
Smoking can cause damage to egg cells. When a woman smokes regularly the number of eggs inside the ovaries may undergo premature aging. As a result, it can lead to an advancement of menopause, earlier than the normal menopausal period.
When you damage the eggs due to smoking, the possibility of miscarriage may go up. It’s because the drug also affects the growth of the fetus or results in changes to the uterine lining.
Problems with the fallopian tubes
Smoking among females may encounter a problem with their fallopian tubes. This is responsible in the fertilization process (where sperm and eggs meet). As a result, it can make conceiving quite difficult. There are also higher chances of developing an ectopic pregnancy.
Women who smoke a lot could be prone to the development of cervical cancer. It’s because harmful toxins in cigarettes are cancer-causing substances. Therefore, it can lead to cancer cells formation that could grow rapidly.
Is There Also an Impact on Female Fertility When the Male Smokes?
If the male is the only one smoking, there is also a risk to the female fertility. This is due to the effects of secondhand smoking. According to a study, secondhand smoking can decrease the number of egg cells up to 46% in the IVF cycle. This is why they often advise male smokers to smoke away from their partners. As a result, this may prevent further harm on the female’s fertility.
Can Smoking Among Male Lead to Infertility?
The decrease in healthy semen or abnormality in the male hormone level aren’t major causes of a male’s infertility. Poor semen doesn’t always lead to infertility. However, doctors recommend those male smokers who are on the borderline of infertility problem to quit smoking. They do this in order to improve their semen analysis and undergo fertility treatment. However, there are other side effects that could arise if the father is smoking. This includes birth defects to the unborn child as well as a higher percentage of acquiring cancer.
What if the Female is a Smoker and Plans to get Pregnant?
Females who smoke excessively could cause long-term damage to their reproductive system. Doctors advise quitting to females planning to get pregnant because it can improve the following:
- Increase the percentage of getting pregnant
- Lower the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
- Increase the chances of having a healthy baby
- Prepare your body to get pregnant
If your partner is also smoking, it would be best for both of you to quit. It’s because there is still a chance of passing the harmful effects of cigarettes to the passive smoker. They include lowering your fertility rate and increase the percentage of miscarriage. There are also health issues that may develop over time to the unborn child like birth defects.
In conclusion, smoking may affect the male and female fertility. It’s because the longer an individual becomes addicted to tobacco, the higher percentage of being on the edge of infertility. This is due to the damage done to the sperm and eggs.