Poor lifestyle choices make one of the main reasons of thousands of couples across the globe experiencing infertility in the present times. Amongst the major lifestyle hazards that are responsible for men and women losing their fertility is smoking, which has countless other ill-effects on human health. If you are planning a pregnancy in near future, quitting is the biggest favor that you can do to yourself and your partner.
It is important to know that not only being a smoker puts fertility at risk but the threat of male and female infertility looms large for passive smokers too. Let us know all about how the smoke may deprive you of the joy of parenthood and more importantly, why smokers need to ditch the habit for preserving their fertility.
Smoking and Female Infertility
Female smokers are likely to come across an array of reproductive issues that result in infertility. At the same time, the danger is equally grave for those women whose partners are smokers as they inhale the toxic smoke day and night. Here are some facts to note about the relation between smoking and female infertility:
- Studies have shown that every stage of the reproductive process bears the brunt of smoking as the toxic substances (primarily nicotine) associated with smoke damage the DNA of the egg and possibly cause chromosomal abnormalities in it. Additionally, they may have a baneful influence on maturation of the eggs, synthesis of hormones, embryo transport as well as condition of the uterus, all of which are the key parameters of female fertility.
- Smoking may cause long term damage to female reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix, putting women at higher risk of complications such as ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortion. It exerts oxidative stress on the ovarian follicle and a resultant decline in ovarian reserve as well as egg quality ad quantity, which turns out to be the key reason of unexplained infertility. The more a woman smokes (or is exposed to smoke), the higher is the risk of these complications.
- As suggested by numerous studies, female smokers are at high risk of early menopause. The reason is that those who are exposed to the toxins in cigarette smoke are more likely to come across premature ovarian ageing and early depletion of the ovarian reserve. On an average, women who smoke can reach menopause as early as two years before in comparison to non-smokers.
- Smoking not only impacts the natural fertility of a woman but also has a negative influence on the success rate of IVF for women trying to conceive with this assisted reproductive technique. For instance, smokers are likely to have lower number of follicles after ovarian stimulation and consequently, the number of eggs available for retrieval is also low. Similarly, the chances of fertilization of the egg are affected and the miscarriage risk is also higher for IVF patients who smoke.
- Not only does smoking act as a key cause of female infertility, it can also adversely affect those who are already pregnant. The incidence of pregnancy complications such as preterm labor, low birth weight and prenatal defects is higher amongst women exposed to cigarette smoke.
Smoking and Male Infertility
As already seen, cigarette smoking heavily compromises the ability of women to conceive and surprisingly enough, men are not safe too. Exposure to the toxins in some puts their fertility on risk too.
- Research has established that male smokers have lower sperm count as well as poor sperm motility because smoking causes DNA damage to the sperms too.
- Like women, men too are likely to come across hormonal issues, which directly affect their ability to reproduce.
- The incidence of sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction is higher in male smokers.
Is quitting a feasible solution?
It has already been seen that smoking may play havoc on fertility of men and women. Now the key question is whether quitting will help and to what extent it would improve the chances of conception. Fortunately, studies have backed up the fact that quitting does help and the damage can even be reversed, with the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy getting improved over a period of time.
Ditching the habit also improves the success rate of IVF, which makes it all the more important for couples relying on assisted reproduction for combating with major fertility issues. Moreover, it is an excellent choice for women who are already pregnant as they can protect their babies from major risks and have a safe pregnancy. It is not only essential for a woman to stop smoking but the male partner should also practice the same, primarily to preserve his own fertility and secondly, to prevent his partner from being exposed to second hand smoke.
Gaudium IVF is the best IVF clinic in Delhi, India which is reputed for offering advanced infertility techniques and gynecological care for its patients. The clinic also educates patients about preserving their fertility and having safe pregnancy by following healthy lifestyle habits.
Contact here for free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the top infertility specialist in India.