How does smoking affect male (and therefore female) fertility?

Smoking can hurt your sperm, period. It can also negatively affect male fertility in other ways. And, you guessed it, smoking is bad for female fertility.

Smoking is linked to an increased risk for many cancers, heart disease, emphysema, and several other health problems in both women and men. But have you considered your fertility, or that of your partner?

European Urology published a meta-analysis on the effect of smoking on semen health. The meta-analysis analyzed 20 studies and over 5,000 men in Europe. The study concluded that smoking is linked and or causes decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility (how sperm swim), and poor sperm morphology (the shape of sperm.) The negative effects that smoking had on sperm health was stronger in infertile men and in moderate to heavy smokers, compared to light smokers.

Some interesting points include:

  • Male smoking may cause a 23 percent decrease in sperm concentration in men who smoke;

  • Male smoking is linked with a 13 percent decrease in sperm motility;

  • Male smokers have fewer healthy shaped sperm than non-smokers;

  • Smoking may cause increased DNA fragmentation in sperm;

  • Smoking causes abnormal male hormone levels, which can affect fertility;

  • In one small study on IVF-ICSI, the clinical pregnancy rate in women whose partners smoked was 22 percent. For the women whose partners didn’t smoke, the pregnancy success rate was 38 percent;

  • Male smoking likely causes increased miscarriage rates;

  • Male smoking causes a possible decrease in female fertility when women are exposed to secondhand smoking;

  • Smoking is strongly correlated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, with some studies showing a three-fold increase in risk for male smokers (not a fertility matter per se, but an important factor).

Smoking may even be correlated with a decrease of your children’s fertility!

Check back for a roundup on how smoking specifically affects female fertility.

Our acupuncture and TCM treatments help treat an array of fertility and non-fertility related matters. Our naturopathic doctor also offers assistance to those wishing to quit smoking.

Male FertilityJonah Arnold