It’s widely known that smoking is bad for pregnant women and can have many negative effects for young children and even negative consequences prenatally as well, but did you know that it can also affect your partner’s sperm count?
About five years ago, the International Journal of Andrology found that smoking can reduce the sperm count in males. Smoking has also been associated with alterations in hormone levels in males, for example increases in the levels of oestrone and oestradiol. Another study published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research found that children can inherit genetic damage from fathers who smoke regularly. The study also found that oxidative damage in sperm DNA was 50 per cent higher in smokers compared with non-smokers, while the concentration of alphatoco-pherol in seminal plasma was 32 per cent lower in smokers. On average, men who smoke regularly will have a sperm count that is 13 to 17 percent lower than the average male that doesn’t smoke at all.
Smoking may not affect male fertility in a huge way, but it can definitely make a difference, especially for couples trying to get pregnant. Smoking also effects fertility in other ways as well. For example, smoking often decreases sex-drive and it’s been widely known to impact blood flow. This can lead to impotence by causing damage to blood vessels.
Obviously the healthiest option is to quit smoking entirely. The negative effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke on pre- and postnatal children have been proved for years. If you’re not ready for children and aren’t exposing them to nicotine and second hand smoke, then just think about your children in the future. When you do decide to have children your chances of conceiving are much lower if your partner has smoked regularly for a long time. Also, the negative effects of nicotine and tobacco never entirely go away. People who smoke regularly for many years are much more at risk of developing cancer and other ailments and they often have 10 to 15 years taken off of their lifespan.
If your or your partner are regular smokers, talk to your doctor today about healthy ways to quit. If you’re experiencing difficulty in getting pregnant and you think that smoking may be an issue, contact your doctor today to make an appointment so that you, your partner, and your future children can experience a full and healthy life.
- VINE, M. F. (1996), Smoking and male reproduction: a review. International Journal of Andrology, 19: 323–337. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.1996.tb00523.x