In honor of social media terming this week as “men’s health week,” I have decided to inform you of just how smoking can play a lead role in infertility. Granted I will inform you of both men and women, it is something we sparingly see at the clinic but something that can be just as important when considering having a family. Infertility is often thought of as a “female issue,” however that is not the case. Research suggests 35% of infertility cases are caused by male factors, 35% are caused by female factors, 20% come from both, and 10% is undetermined.
In men- Smoking increases the risk of low sperm count and erectile dysfunction (the inability to get or keep and erection). Toxins from cigarette smoke can also damage the genetic material in sperm, which can cause infertility or genetic defects in your children.
In women- Smoking makes it more difficult to become pregnant and if you are able to become pregnant, smoking increases your chance of having serious pregnancy complications. Such as: Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube). Smoking affects each stage of the reproductive process, including egg and sperm maturation, hormone production and the environment in the uterus. It can also damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm.
Together- Smoking tobacco by either partner reduces the likelihood of pregnancy. Smoking also reduces the possible benefit of fertility treatment. Research shows it is much easier for people to stop smoking if they do it with their partner. Deciding to quit together is a great way to increase your fertility and chances of having a healthy baby.
Laura McConahey MS
Feel free to comment below on other questions you have on this or other topics regarding family, children, or pregnancy and I would be happy to address those in future blogs!