Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility

Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility

Smoking and Male Fertility


Ask any regular smoker or chewer of tobacco, and most will agree it takes only a short amount of time to become addicted to nicotine. A nicotine habit like smoking has been linked to a multitude of adverse health issues and those using tobacco are highly encouraged to stop. Keep reading below to understand the relationship between  smoking and male fertility.

Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility

The relationship between nicotine and male infertility has sparked interest with many researchers. It is estimated 15 percent of couples face some form of infertility when trying to have children, and according to certain studies, cigarette smoking can have a damaging effect on the volume, sperm count, and ability of sperm to move properly to reach an egg.

Studies also confirm DNA fragmentation is increased in the sperm of smokers. This could play a role in complications with embryo development as well as be a contributing factor to increased miscarriage rates. Furthermore, researchers have suggested the number of cigarettes a male smokes on a daily basis is related to the impairment of semen quality.

A Closer Look at Smoking and Male Fertility

In an attempt to explain the connection, researchers suggest smokers have lower zinc levels than nonsmokers and this plays a role in the irregular semen parameters. Researchers also suggest men who smoke are exposed to metals that contain toxins, which can lead to the development of high levels of cadmium and lead, both of which have been linked to decreased fertility.

Also noteworthy is the fact that smoking can have adverse effects on the success of certain techniques like in-vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Couples seeking assisted reproduction techniques should take into account the negative impact smoking plays on male fertility.

In addition to the aforementioned effects, researchers claim exposure to cigarettes in utero may influence a man’s eventual fertility in the future. This means if a male is born to a mother who smoked during her pregnancy, he may be at risk for poor sperm health and may have difficulty conceiving a child later on in life.

In Conclusion

Reduced semen health doesn't always mean infertility but evidence points to the fact that men who are having trouble conceiving should be encouraged to stop smoking in order to optimize their fertility outcomes. If a man is already at risk for infertility, smoking may be the factor that determines his ability to conceive or not conceive a child. Dropping the habit will improve a couple's chances of having a child.

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