Smoking Can Make Couples Infertile
Everyone knows that smoking can cause all manner of dire health problems including emphysema, heart disease, and cancer. We also know by know that smoking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. We can even point to evidence that suggests smoking may raise your risk for miscarriage.
But here's what you don't know: smoking can have a negative impact on your fertility. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman. Smoking can keep you from having a child. That means both of you.
Smoking impacts on a woman's fertility in a variety of ways. For instance, smoking may affect the release of the female hormone estrogen which might throw off a woman's menstrual cycle. When the menstrual cycle is out of whack, ovulatory dysfunction is a given. Some studies suggest that smoking may in fact cause a reduction in the amount of estrogen produced by a woman's body.
But that's not all: smoking affects a woman's circulation so that there is less blood flow to the reproductive organs. This can lead to vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, and an inability for eggs to implant on the wall of the uterus. It's one thing for an egg to be fertilized by sperm, but if the egg can't implant, there won't be a baby.
Smoking can damage eggs before they come to maturity, resulting in a lower number of eggs that will be released during ovulation. A smoker's eggs are also more vulnerable to genetic issues. Smoking can also have a direct impact on a woman's fallopian tubes and may even lead to tubal damage and disease.
One research trial showed that women who had never smoked cigarettes had twice as much conception success than women who had once smoked. The longer the duration of the woman's smoking history, the less successful her chances at conception.
Much less research has been done in terms of the effects of smoking on male fertility. However, the research that does exist shows a correlation between smoking and low sperm counts. Still other studies have found that smoking may decrease sperm motility or lead to the production of abnormal sperm.
The general recommendation of most health care providers is to quit smoking a minimum of 2 months prior to getting pregnant. Of course, once you succeed in becoming pregnant, there is no question that you must quit smoking altogether for the sake of your unborn child.