Whether we choose to admit it or not, we know that nothing good can ever come out of smoking, at least in terms of health. Smoking negatively affects us physically, mentally and psychologically. Furthermore, the effects are borne by every part of our bodies, from head to toe. Hence, it is needless to say that smoking can adversely affect both, male and female fertility.
Smoking may lead to erectile dysfunction (ED) which can cause men to become impotent. An erection is the result of arteries expanding after they receive nerves signals in the penis. Smoking may tamper with the blood supply to these arteries and lead to lower sex drive. Therefore, an erection may become physically impossible to have, even when sexual arousal signals are being received by the nervous system.
Smoking is known to significantly decrease sperm count, often by up to 23%. This makes it harder to conceive, since the chances of a sperm reaching the egg decrease. Furthermore, the sperm motility may slow down. This means that the sperm may be unable to swim properly, thereby finding it more difficult to reach and fertilize the egg. Sperm motility rates in smokers may reduce by 13% in males. Therefore, doctors recommend men to stop smoking if they intend to have kids, since unhealthy semen may cause infertility issues.
It is not just about how fast a sperm can travel, but also what it looks like. A sperm that has an odd shape might negatively impact male fertility. This is because the shape is also dependent on how efficiently the sperm can swim and fertilize the egg. Moreover, it is important to know that male smokers may develop DNA fragmentation. This results in fertilization issues because of the unhealthy sperms, such as miscarriage as well as complications in embryo development and implantation. Furthermore, male smokers may even experience fluctuating hormone levels that can affect fertility.
Not only is smoking harmful for the baby, but it makes it difficult for a woman to have one in the first place. This is due to developing problems with the fallopian tubes, such as blockages, which prevents the meeting of the egg and sperm. Furthermore, ectopic pregnancies may occur, whereby the pregnancy takes place outside the uterus in the fallopian tubes, cervix or somewhere along the abdominal region.
Even if one does manage to get pregnant, the chances of losing the baby are much higher for smokers than non-smokers. This is because smoking may cause changes in the uterine lining, and also affect the growth of the fetus. This means that the fetus may not be able to survive in an environment that is not conducive to its health. Thus, it is important to quit smoking as soon as one decides on becoming pregnant.
Smoking may lead to all sorts of ovulation problems, such as causing ovaries to experience premature aging. This means that a woman who smokes may undergo advanced menopause, before the actual menopause period. Hereby, the egg cells may be damaged and become unable to be fertilized.
Lastly, cervical cancer may occur due to smoking, as a result of harmful carcinogens entering the body. This is one of the many cancers associated to smoking, which may have serious consequences, and worst of all, death. Therefore, both men and women should aim to stay away from smoking, not just for the sake of children, but for their bodies and minds as a whole.