Fertility and Smoking
We are raised with the knowledge that smoking is harmful for health – it destroys our lungs, can cause cancer, affects respiration, skin, nails … Little do we know that smoking interferes with our reproductive system and moreover, can significantly affect our fertility.
Numerous studies have proven that smokers are more likely to develop fertility issues than non smokers. Moreover, this is true for both genders equally and opposite to the common belief, not for women only.
Effects on women
As women age, their reproductive systems become less “functional”. In fertility, we always come across the fact that maternal age has a huge influence on her fertility. Not only smoking damages reproductive organs, it accelerates the aging process. The result is that the biological clock of a woman becomes even shorter and therefore, is directly linked to the problems in fertility.
Women are born with a lifelong supply of eggs and if they are damaged, the body will not be able to recover or replace them. Smoking has been linked to a significant drop in the amount of eggs. This is once again connected to the accelerated aging – smoker’s ovaries are aged prematurely.
The last but not least, menopause approaches earlier for smokers and usually, under no circumstances does a woman want to face it before the time.
Effects on men
When talking about male infertility we usually refer to low sperm count, it’s poor ability to move(motility) and fragmentation of its DNA.
Male fertility is usually tested with the semen analysis which meticulously studies the concentration of sperm(sperm count), it’s motility and shape. DNA fragmentation, on the other hand, is one of the most common issues behind the male infertility.
Not only smoking affects all of the above mentioned factors but it also lowers the libido and causes the erectile dysfunction. It is safe to say that smoking harms almost every important aspect connected to male fertility and sexual health.
Smoking is dangerous during pregnancy
While smoking is connected to various risk factors before conceiving, it becomes extremely dangerous during pregnancy. A lot of women continue to smoke when they are pregnant. Most of them are not doing it intentionally – they are just not yet aware of their condition. Unfortunately, smoking is a huge contributor to the defects that can occur early in the pregnancy. Smoking can even lead to miscarriage and preterm labour.
When trying to conceive, the future parents should simultaneously start quitting to smoke. The quitting applies to both genders equally. The secondhand smoke is no less harmful. Being exposed to the smoke while being pregnant is very dangerous and there is no principal difference whether a women inhales toxins from smoke of others or of herself.
Smoking ruins IVF experience for many couples. It slows down effects of the treatment and makes the journey much more complicated.
It is always a right time to quit smoking – especially when considering to expand a family. Giving up on such a harmful habit will pay off with much desired results which includes having a family that is bigger, healthier and happier.