The innumerable amount of research over the past several decades proving the unhealthiness of smoking is still not enough to convince some people. Now, add further research to that list: not only do females lower their chance of having a successful live birth following fertility treatment if they are smokers, but if both members of a couple are smokers, the chances are even lower of a successful live birth.
“Dr. Alex Polotsky, who lead the study, said researchers have studied the impact of smoking on female fertility for some time, but this marks a first for the impact of male smoking. ‘In terms of smoking, this is the first time that we can actually say [to men] that if you quit smoking you should improve your chances to conceive,’ he said. Researchers examined a variety of factors that impact fertility. They found couples in which both women and men smoked had a nearly 80 percent decrease in their chances of conceiving after a fertility treatment.”
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Though most of the discussions about ticking biological clocks and ways to improve fertility focus on women, men also need to be aware of the factors that can negatively impact their fertility as well as ways to boost their ability to conceive.
The testes of a male are outside the body for a reason—they need to be kept cool. Cooler temperatures help the production of sperm. Do not place a laptop directly on your lap. Do not spend excessive amount of time in hot tubs or baths.
Allow for Some Space
Tight pants also negatively impact sperm production. This is partly due to poor circulation, but also due again to excess heat from being so smothered. Moderate the layers of clothing you wear and do not spend multiple hours wearing compressions shorts or bike shorts.
Have a Future Plan
It is well known that women have a shorter time in which to conceive before their fertility declines, but men’s fertility also declines with age. Not only does sperm quantity and quality go down starting in their 40s, but fathering a child at that time or later also increases the risk that the child will have mental health issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, along with childhood cancers, leukemia, and other congenital disorders. Even if you’re not ready now to have children, think about your future down the road and if being a parent is something you desire.
You already read articles or hear doctors talking about the need to exercise regularly, eat healthily, give up smoking, and monitor alcohol consumption. This is not advice to be ignored and is repeated often for a reason. Being aware of what you eat and exercising are two simple ways to vastly improve your quality of life by greatly boosting your health—and therefore the health of your sperm.
If you are interested in learning more about your fertility, contact a fertility doctor near you today.
Micheline Chu, MD
By: Micheline Chu, MD
For decades, the Surgeon General has advised quitting smoking. Beyond the well-publicized diseases and health risks caused by smoking and second-hand smoke, smoking contributes to fertility issues. Cigarette smokers are known to be more likely to have several fertility issues as compared to non-smokers, regardless of which partner smokes. Both female and male smokers have lower fertility levels, taking longer to conceive, and children of mothers who smoked have an increased risk of fertility issues as adults.
On the female side, ovarian reserve (egg quantity) and egg quality are compromised in women who smoke. Smoking also reduces the chance of success with IVF, and smokers have increased rates of miscarriage with IVF pregnancies.
And on the male side, compared to non-smokers, smokers tend to have lower sperm counts, reduced amounts of semen, impaired motility of sperm, and a higher percentage of abnormally-shaped sperm. Smoking can also affect the blood vessels that supply the penis, causing erection problems.
Besides the obvious health benefits of quitting smoking, quitting smoking will increase your ability to conceive and your likelihood of success with IVF. It is thought to take at least three months for improvement to be maximized in relation to fertility after stopping smoking.
To help you get started…
Center for Tobacco Control (North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System)
New York State Smokers’ Quitline