February 20, 2012

Are You Infertile Because You Smoke?


nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Infertility is not an issue that only women worry about; men can also contribute to a couple’s inability to conceive a baby. Many people, smokers and non smokers alike, do not realize that smoking cigarettes impairs fertility in both men and women. If you are a smoker and are interested in having children then pay attention—you habit may be hindering your ability to experience the joys of parenting. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that smoking impacts the fertility of both men and women smoking damages the reproductive capabilities of each sex in a different way.

Let’s start by looking at how smoking affect male fertility. Research conducted at the University of Buffalo (New York) in the United States shows that smoking significantly decreases a man’s ability to father a child. Sperm from chronic smokers was tested and it was discerned that nearly 2/3 of the sperm failed the test that measures whether or not sperm can successfully fertilize an egg.  The results are quite astounding; chronic smokers experienced a 75% decline in fertility compared to their non smoker counterparts.

Researchers have determined that tobacco smoke decreases sperm count and affects the mobility of sperm—they are unable to swim to and fertilize the egg before they die. Smoking also effects men’s hormonal cycles and can even contribute to erectile dysfunction. Additionally, smoking harms the DNA of sperm and in the event that the damaged sperm do fertilize the egg, the weakened DNA can be passed on to the child.

The good news is that quitting smoking can immediately begin reversing the fertility problems caused by tobacco smoke. The sperm count will increase, hormones will balance, and damaged DNA will be replenished. Problems like erectile dysfunction will also sort themselves out once the body begins to return to normal after clearing the system of tobacco toxins during the first few weeks of smoking cessation.

Now let’s move on to how smoking harms the reproductive capacities of women. Researchers estimate that female smokers have approximately 75% of the fertility of their non-smoking counterparts. Smoking is linked to a variety of issues that affect a woman’s fertility, and these problems (along with the rate of infertility) increase depending on how many cigarettes a woman smokes per day; especially if it is ten or more. Smoking damages the fallopian tubes, increases the risk of miscarriage, and causes unhealthy changes in the cervix and uterus. It can also make your menstrual cycle irregular as it has the ability to shake up your hormone cycle.

One of the most damaging side effects smoking has on a woman’s fertility is the fact that is damages the eggs. It makes them weak and damages the DNA sequences. This is especially harmful because the damage is IRREVERSIBLE. Unlike men who continuously generate sperm throughout their lifetime, women are born with a finite set of eggs and they do not generate more. Thus, any damage that the eggs incur is permanent and irreversible. The more you smoke, the more you damage your eggs and this increases miscarriage and if you are able to conceive a child, it increases the chance of birth defects and other genetic abnormalities in your offspring.

If you are interested in having children and experiencing a fulfilling life as a parent, then smoking cigarettes is not helping your case. Remember that smoking is a habit and you have the power to take charge of your life and create a healthier way of living by building new habits that promote happiness and wellness. Get rid of that last package of cigarettes today and start a new chapter of your life that will not only benefit you, but also benefit the lives of the children that you want to have.