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World No Tobacco Day: How Smoking Increases Infertility Rates, For Men And Women Alike

(By Dr. Chaitali Taware, IVF Specialist, Clara IVF)

Both male and female smokers experience reduced fertility rates compared to non-smokers. The harmful effects of smoking on reproductive health can lead to difficulties in conception and decreases the chances of successful pregnancy. It is crucial for individuals planning to conceive to quit smoking to improve their fertility outcome.

Smoking has long been recognised as a detrimental habit affecting overall health, but its impact on reproductive health is often underestimated. Research shows that smoking can significantly impair fertility in both men and women, leading to prolonged time to conceive and increased rates of infertility. Infertility rates in both male and female smokers are about twice the rate of infertility found in nonsmokers. The risk for fertility problems increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

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How Smoking Affects Women Fertility

For women, smoking affects the reproductive organs in multiple ways. It damages the fallopian tubes, alters the cervical mucus, and can cause complications with egg production and ovulation. These changes make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg and for implantation to occur, leading to infertility. Additionally, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, preterm births, and birth defects. Smoking can also affect the success rates of fertility treatment, such as IVF (In vitro fertilisation).

How Smoking Affects Male Fertility

Men who smoke are also at a disadvantage when it comes to fertility. Smoking reduces sperm count, motility, and morphology, meaning there are fewer healthy sperm available to fertilize an egg. The DNA damage caused by smoking can lead to poor embryo quality and lower chances of successful pregnancy. Moreover, the toxins in cigarettes can cause hormonal imbalances, further compromising reproductive health.

Quitting smoking is one of the most effective steps individuals can take to enhance their fertility. Studies indicate that fertility rates improve significantly within months of quitting, as the body begins to repair itself from the damage caused by smoking. Couples who quit smoking together often find increased support and success in their journey to conceive.

On this World No Tobacco Day, it is vital to raise awareness about the severe consequences of smoking on fertility. Future parents should be encouraged to seek support and resources to help them quit smoking. By making this crucial lifestyle change, they can improve their chances of conceiving and ensuring a healthier future for their children.

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