Pregnancy is the greatest blessing of life, but some may face the trauma of not experiencing this bliss. There are several health factors that lead to infertility among couples, out of which some factors can be treated, while some factors are not in your control.
Did you know?
As per reports, 35% of couples experience infertility due to malefactors. Out of several factors that lead to male infertility, smoking is one of the leading causes. And to attest this, the World Health Organization performed a survey which stated that 46% of men of childbearing age, i.e., 20 to 39 are smokers.
These numbers are disheartening but what is more desolating is that approximately 22% of people don’t understand that smoking has a significant effect on infertility.
It takes three months for a sperm to develop inside a male reproductive system. There are several environmental factors like diet, exercise, alcohol use, and effects of smoking that determine if a healthy sperm will travel or not.
Smoking can actively or negatively affect your sperm health alongside your partner’s chances of conceiving, and your baby’s health.
For people not aware of the reproductive risks of smoking, we have unveiled all the complications that smoking can put you into.
Read through to understand the effects of smoking on male fertility.
How does smoking affect male fertility?
Cigarettes contain toxins that are often blamed for their bad effect on male health. Men who smoke are exposed to high levels of metals like cadmium and lead, which have been linked to decreased fertility.
Lead and cadmium levels have been found to significantly affect semen quality resulting in poor sperm concentration, shape, and movement.
However, you must know that smoking does not stand to be the only cause of infertility in men. There can also be other causes of infertility like age, low sperm production or abnormal sperm function.
However, smoking does aggravate the complications by pushing the patients suffering from infertility over the edge into infertility.
Here are some common problems that may arise when you don’t quit smoking:
It refers to the sperm’s shape. Studies suggest that males who smoke tend to have less healthy-shaped sperm as compared to men who don’t.
Smoking can change the shape of the sperm, due to which the sperm fails to swim properly enough to reach the egg. And even if this abnormally shaped sperm reaches the egg, by then, it has lost the power to fertilize the egg.
The toxins in smoke negatively affect sperm motility. These toxins decrease the concentration of sperms in the semen and can affect the overall quality of sperms.
Men who smoke have sperm with greater DNA fragmentation. This leads to problems with fertilization, embryo development, increased miscarriage rates, and embryo implantation.
Sperm concentration refers to the number of sperm present in semen. As per studies, men who smoke tend to have a 23 percent reduction in sperm concentration as compared to men who don’t smoke.
In addition, smoking hinders the functionality of the reproductive system’s blood vessels, which causes erectile dysfunction in male smokers.
Smoking also adversely affects male fertility by:
Damaging sperms genetically
Smoking and IVF-ICSI Success:
Researchers have determined that effects of smoking on the success rate of IVF and ICSI treatment. As per the studies conducted, the success rates of IVF-ICSI were 22% in couples who smoked, whereas it was 38% in couples who didn’t smoke.
Thus, if you’re planning to undergo fertility treatment, it’s well worth quitting smoking to improve your chances of success.
The path to pregnancy can be overwhelming especially for couples trying to get pregnant for so many years. Couples trying to conceive should educate themselves on the factors that can negatively affect their fertility.
To deal with infertility issues,the first step is to consult a gynaecologist. If you are trying to quit smoking, your gynecologist will help you in this regard.
Frequently Asked Question:
Can smoking make you infertile permanently?
Smoking in excess can make you infertile in the long run. In men, smoking affects the semen quality, but in women, smoking can damage all the eggs, and then there's no going back.
Can one cigarette a day affect fertility?
As per studies, one cigarette a day not only raises the risk of heart disease and stroke but can also have a negative impact on fertility in men. Chemicals in the cigarette smoke can affect sperm’s quality, sperm count and concentration. Therefore, you should stop smoking to improve your chances of being fertile.
Can I undergo IVF treatment if I smoke?
For the treatment to work properly, you need to quit smoking if you are undergoing fertility treatment like IVF or ICSI.