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The Effects of Smoking on Sperm

Thinking about your overall health as a soon-to-be dad is vital. The leading cause of infertility among men is abnormal sperm. Sperm is affected by many lifestyle factors, which includes smoking. We all know that smoking affects your overall health, however, you might not be aware that smoking affects fertility, both male and female fertility. The truth is that couples sometimes overlook the wellbeing of the male partner when it comes to fertility. Bear in mind that getting pregnant requires both, healthy sperm and a healthy egg. The toxins found in cigarettes damage not only the lungs but have a detrimental impact on the overall health of the body, including your reproductive system.

Smoking Leads to Decreased Semen Quality

Many studies have shown that smokers have a lowered quality of semen. Various effects include the following:

  • Sperm Concentration: this refers to the amount of sperm found in a calculated quantity of semen. According to studies, there is a substantial decrease in sperm concentration among men who smoke.

  • Sperm morphology: this refers to the sperm’s shape. A male who smokes has less healthy shaped sperm as compared to a non-smoker.

  • Sperm motility: this refers to the ability of the sperm to swim. If the sperm can’t swim properly, it may have a hard time getting to the egg to fertilise it. Researchers found that men who smoke have a decrease in their sperm motility.

Stop Smoking Benefit

You will feel the benefits of quitting straight away as your body repairs itself. Depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke, typical benefits of stopping are:

  1. After twelve hours almost all of the nicotine is out of your system.

  2. After twenty-four hours the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically. You now have more oxygen in your bloodstream.

  3. After five days most nicotine by-products have gone.

  4. Within days your sense of taste and smell improves.

  5. Within a month your blood pressure returns to its normal level and your immune system begins to show signs of recovery.

  6. Within two months your lungs will no longer be producing extra phlegm caused by smoking.

  7. After twelve months your increased risk of dying from heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.

  8. Stopping smoking reduces the incidence and progression of lung disease including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

  9. After ten years of stopping your risk of lung cancer is less than half that of a continuing smoker and continues to decline (provided the disease is not already present).

  10. After fifteen years your risk of heart attack and stroke is almost the same as that of a person who has never smoked.

Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things a person can do. Most smokers say they would like to quit and may have tried at least once. Some are successful the first time, but many other people try a number of times before they finally give up for good.


What can you do?

The obvious answer is to quit smoking, which is easier said than done. If becoming a father is high on your priority list I am sure this goal can be achieved with determination and effort.  What about the damage that was already done?

Here is what you can do:

  • Diet - Include plenty of vegetables in your diet. Eliminate sugar processed foods.

  • Antioxidants - Take supplements high in antioxidants such as selenium, zinc, CoQ10, Vitamin C


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