Most people are aware of the harmful health effects of smoking, such as cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Smoking has an effect on both Male and Female reproductive health, which is a lesser-known truth. Everyone has to understand that whether they intend to have a baby soon or later in life, smoking can harm their reproductive system.
Studies show that current or past smokers have a 14% higher risk of infertility than non-smokers, while passive smokers, who were exposed to the highest amounts of fumes, were found to have an 18% higher risk of infertility than non-smokers.
A woman who lives with a smoker who smokes 20 cigarettes or more per day has a 34% decreased probability of becoming pregnant.
Effects of smoking on male fertility
Men who smoke have decreased sperm counts and motility than men who do not smoke. According to several studies, male smokers are more likely to produce genetically defective sperm. If the female partner conceives, the odds of the genetic damage affecting the growing baby or putting the pregnancy at risk are very high.
Smoking (including passive smoking) can induce sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction, which can influence fertility indirectly.
Effects of smoking on female fertility
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, females who smoke have a higher rate of infertility than those who don’t. This is due to the harmful effects of toxins present in cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide, tar, nicotine, lead, cadmium, and carbon monoxide.
They have reduced estrogen levels, which makes it difficult for the eggs to develop and mature. Smoking is known to hinder healthy ovulation by causing damage to the fallopian tubes and lowering ovarian reserve, especially in terms of egg quality and count.
Also, the rate of miscarriage is more, as well as the risk of children with genetic anomalies such as Down’s syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome is higher.
Women undergoing IVF treatment
Women receiving IVF therapy have a much lower success rate if they smoke. This could be linked to the fact that smoking causes vascular tissues, which make it difficult for the embryo to implant into the uterine wall. Women who are considering IVF treatment should quit smoking before beginning any reproductive therapy.
The impact on an unborn child
Even if a woman is able to conceive, the other adverse effects of smoking may make it difficult for her to do so. It can lead to low birth weight, preterm birth, and birth defects. It also increases the babies risk for SIDS.
According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), smoking impairs the development of a healthy reproductive system in the unborn kid, which could lead to poor fertility in the male/female child in the future. Women who smoke during pregnancy, for example, have a higher risk of giving birth to male children with smaller testes and lower sperm counts, according to research. Children born to smokers have a higher risk of developing respiratory infections such as asthma and wheezing.
Tips to quit smoking
To help with the process of quitting, nicotine gum or patches, as well as prescription drugs, can be used temporarily. This improves fertility parameters in both males and females manifold.
In other situations, though, a natural pregnancy may be difficult to accomplish. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) methods including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) can help in these situations. While ART treatment may be useful, the harm caused by tobacco to a person’s overall health can have an impact on their success rate.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE