How Smoking impacts fertility levels in men and women
In today’s fast life infertility is a cause of worry for many couples. Besides the lifestyle and eating habits, scientific research stresses that smoking hits hard on the fertility of both men and women. While smoking does permanent damage to the heart, triggers cancer, lungs also it impacts the sperm motility, semen quality, count and causes several other health related issues which contributes 30% to the unexplained fertility in men. The toxins from the cigarette take a huge troll on the health and the entire body, including the male reproductive system. This article summarizes the harmful effects of smoking and how it impacts the fertility in men.
How Smoking Affects Sperm and Semen Quality?
Many research and studies have concluded that smoking drastically impacts a man’s fertility specifically impacting the sperm count and decrease in semen quality.
How does smoking affect sperm?
Smoking absorbs the toxins into the male’s body which reduces the sperm concentration, slows down the motility, impacts the morphology (shape of the sperm) and causes DNA fragmentation of the sperm. Let’s take a closer look
1. Smoking takes a serious troll on Sperm count, morphology, and motility
There’s a strong relation between smoking and male infertility. Scientists have conducted research on 33 case studies and observed the following facts:
30% of the analysis resulted in decrease in sperm count
42% of the analysis resulted in reduced sperm morphology
40% of the analysis resulted in decreased sperm motility
However there are mixed views on smoking vs non smoking, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) illustrates that smoking disrupts the semen parameters and the sperm functioning at the molecular level based on the amount of smoking.
2. Smoking speedens the sperm DNA fragmentation
Smoking rapidly increases the DNA Fragmentation at the molecular level. The DNA fragmentation index (DFI) identifies the percentage of the fragmentation occurs in the sperm DNA. The higher the DNA fragmentation index( DFI) the higher the damage is, and so is the fertility damage leading to reduced fertility. Smoking men have significantly higher levels of DNA. Some researchers have found that the sperm count, motility and morphology were normal in spite of having high DNA fragmentation index.
Smoking is the root cause to trigger oxidative stress, as a result of which the DNA fragmentation surges.Also other lifestyle habits and health complications like exposure to pollution, frequent infections and high fever,eating unhealthy diet, testicles exposed to heat, age are all factors which also contribute to the sperm DNA fragmentation. Though DNA fragmentation impacts the fertility in men, some couples were able to conceive in spite of the high DNA fragmentation.
Hence the American Society for Reproductive Medicine(ASRM) says that the level or percentage of DNA fragmentation testing observed in men who smoke is evident yet it cannot be taken as basis to determine the male factor infertility.
3. Smoking affects the sperm's epigenetic profile
Advancements in the medical research has made DNA testing an easier process to use it as a testing tool for fertility. Scientists study the sperm DNA of healthy men to evaluate and compare between fertile and infertile ones, to know what causes male infertility at the molecular level. Epigenetics provides additional information to the DNA fragmentation information.Research observes that these epigenetic are the molecules which regulate the gene pattern to on and off. It’s a mechanism which knows when to function in the body. Other habits such as stress, smoking, drinking, unhealthy food habits also impact the DNA and there is a possibility that it can be passed to the offsprings.