Smoking doesn’t just ruin your respiratory system, it also hurts your sperm count and adversely affects your fertility. The toxins found in cigarettes don’t just cause lung cancer, they also have detrimental effects on your reproductive organs.
There’s an abundance of scientific literature on the destructive effects of smoking on both male and female fertility. Read on to find out how exactly smoking causes damage to your sperm health.
Per milliliter of semen, you should have fifteen million or more sperm in order for your sperm concentration to be considered normal. Men who are extremely fertile can have as many as more than 200 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate. If you only around 15 million, that’s less than 10% of what other fertile men have.
The relationship between sperm concentration and tobacco smoking is actually dose-dependent. This means that the more you smoke or the longer you smoke, the lower your sperm concentration would be. In fact, heavy smokers have been shown to have almost 20% lower sperm concentration as compared to men who don’t smoke at all.
Sperm motility refers to your sperm’s ability to move and swim. When you ejaculate, your sperm is supposed to move forward and swim towards your partner’s egg cell. However, when you have low sperm motility or asthenozoospermia, only a few of your sperm cells are able to swim forward. This lowers the chances of one of your sperm getting to the egg cell.
In semen analysis, sperm motility is measured in two ways. Progressive motility is a measure of the percentage of your sperm cells that are able to swim in a straight line or in large circles. Non-progressive motility refers to the percentage of your sperm cells that are able to swim but not in straight lines or are swimming in tight circles.
On the one hand, total motility refers to the total number of sperm cells that are able to swim, whether progressively or not. To be considered normal, total motility should be not less than 40%. Progressive motility should be not less than 32%. Tobacco smoking has been found to reduce sperm motility by as much as 16%.
When you have your semen analyzed, the size and shape of your sperm will also be examined. Your sperm should have an oval head and a long tail. The accepted rate for normal sperm morphology is 4%-48%.
Unfortunately, heavy smoking has been linked with teratozoospermia, a condition wherein a high percentage of sperm has an abnormal morphology. Although light and moderate smokers also tend to have high percentages of abnormal sperm morphology, heavy smokers tend to have significantly lower numbers of sperm with normal shape and size.
Those who have been smoking for a long time also tend to have higher rates of abnormal sperm morphology. In fact, in long-term smokers and in heavy smokers, the percentage of sperm with abnormal heads are usually higher compared to non-smokers.
The DNA that your sperm cells are carrying should be intact and complete because that’s going to be the genetic heritage of your offspring. When sperm DNA is fragmented or damaged, it can result in various problems.
When a sperm cell with fragmented or damaged DNA is able to reach the egg cell, fertilization problems may happen. If the sperm is able to successfully fertilize the egg cell, problems with embryo implantation and embryo developing may occur later on, and miscarriage may happen.
Smoking Impairs Your Reproductive Function
Tobacco smoking has both toxic and direct biological detrimental effects on your sperm cells. For one, exposure to cigarette smoke can have inhibitory effects on your sperm production and maturation.
When you inhale cigarette smoke, your body absorbs various mutagenic and harmful compounds such as nicotine, cadmium, and carbon monoxide. When these compounds reach your reproductive organs, they can cause cellular alterations.
These harmful compounds may also alter your antioxidant concentrations while increasing your reactive oxygen species generation. Reactive oxygen species bind with your cellular molecules and cause a lot of damage.
When reactive oxygen species and free radicals attach to the DNA material of your sperm, it results in DNA damage and DNA fragmentation. High levels of oxidative stress in your testicles and semen will also negatively affect your sperm health.
In addition, smoking has also been found to cause a reduction in seminal zinc concentrations. Infertile men who smoke heavily tend to have very low seminal zinc levels, which can lead to abnormal semen parameters.
Erectile dysfunction is one of the worst effects of smoking on your reproductive system. Although erectile dysfunction won’t make you infertile, it would make it difficult for you to impregnate your partner naturally. This means you may need to visit a fertility clinic and have your semen collected for IVF if you and your partner wish to have children.
Smoking Also Affects IVF-ICSI Success
During in vitro fertilization-intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF-ICSI), a single sperm is injected straight into the egg cell. This procedure is usually performed when the male partner has a severe case of infertility.
Unfortunately, studies show that men who smoke have lower IVF-ICSI success rates than non-smokers. Women whose partners are smokers also tend to have lower pregnancy rates compared to women whose partners don’t smoke at all.
Improving Your Sperm Health
Men who have problems with impotence and infertility may benefit from Malegenix. Known as a safe male sex enhancement supplement, Malegenix contains several natural ingredients that have both pro-sexual and pro-fertility effects.
For instance, Malegenix contains Tribulus terrestris, an herbal ingredient that has been scientifically proven to help improve sperm motility. Tribulus terrestris actually contains antioxidants which can help you combat testicular and seminal oxidative stress. Moreover, Tribulus terrestris can also help improve your sperm count and concentration.
Malegenix also contains Tongkat Ali, another pro-erectile herbal ingredient that can also help improve your semen quality. Tongkat Ali is known to promote sperm production and increase sperm motility.
Maca is also part of the Malegenix formula. Maca is a traditional Peruvian herbal medicine for male infertility and impotence. Studies on maca indicate that it can help increase your seminal volume, as well as your sperm count and motility.