How Smoking Affects Fertility

How Smoking Affects Fertility

Some of our readers might be rolling their eyes at another article declaring a crusade against the legion of detrimental effects of smoking on our health. And while it is, fortunately a wide-spread knowledge that smoking is bad for us, it seems that many people still find available evidence not convincing enough. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

In this article we will try to enumerate the various effects smoking can have on our health when it comes to one of our most delicate tools for survival: our reproductive system. We all know the direct risks smoking involves when it comes to lung cancer, heart diseases, and frankly, our body in general.

However, the number of subtle ways it can gradually destroy female fertility is astounding. Studies have shown that non-smokers are twice as successful in achieving pregnancy compared to smokers. As a side-note, be aware that the more cigarettes one smokes per day, the more severe the below-mentioned risks become.

Smoking during pregnancy

I think we all know that smoking is devastating for an unborn child in the prenatal phase of its development, so it comes as no surprise that women planning to achieve pregnancy should quit smoking at least two months before conception. However, let us take a look at our reproductive organs and how they fall victim to the detrimental effects of nicotine one by one.

Narrows blood vessels

First of all, we should know, that smoking narrows blood vessels, thus greatly decreasing blood flow to genital tissues. This leads to several problems, such as vaginal dryness that prevents sperms from crossing the cervix. This can cause painful interaction for the woman and less enjoyment for the man, which ultimately decreases ejaculated sperm count.

Hinders ovulation and decreases egg count

Next, the breakdown products of nicotine degenerate hormones responsible for triggering the maturation of eggs, thereby hindering the process of ovulation as well as decreasing egg count. Knowing that the number of eggs a woman has in her ovarian reserve is finite; the risks of egg damage are further magnified.

The fallopian tubes also suffer the degenerative effects by an increased chance to develop fallopian tube blockage that prevents the sperms from meeting the egg. And even if the egg is fertilized against all these odds, there is an increased chance the embryo implants itself outside the uterus, in the fallopian tube.

But even if the inseminated egg manages to attach itself to the uterus, it may abort itself due to the diminished blood supply. This is called spontaneous abortion and is by all means a premature miscarriage.

Lowers estrogen

Smoking also influences the the amount of estrogen released into the system. It lowers estrogen presence, which in essence is the fuel of the reproductive system. As we can see smoking can severely damage a woman’s fertility by damaging the ovarian reserve, the fallopian tubes, and causing cervical changes. It increases the chances of cervical cancer, spontaneous abortion, and premature aging or depletion of ovarian reserves, thereby contributing to the infertility rate significantly.

Secondhand smoke can affect your fertility

Many women think that the above mentioned risks only apply to smokers, but make no mistake; secondhand smoking can lead to similar risks. Especially if your partner is a chain-smoker, it is imperative that he also quits smoking, at least for the duration of the pregnancy.

Not only because it is much easier to quit smoking if we have a partner who shares our challenges, but because smoking has damaging risks for male fertility as well. However, fortunately, the above-mentioned long-term damages of smoking start to be gradually negated one year after quitting smoking, so it’s never too late to quit.

Quit smoking and protect your fertility

As we can see, smokers place an enormous burden on their reproductive system. Achieving pregnancy, and staying pregnant while smoking is not unlike gambling, an irresponsible act unworthy of a future parent. For the sake of both our unborn child as well as our own health, it is an invaluable sacrifice to quit smoking right now to protect our gift of fertility and ensure good health for our child.

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Monica Scott, BS, RN
Monica Scott, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Scott joined ConceiveEasy after working in prenatal obstetrical care for two years in a private practice before being promoted to Director of Nursing. She has a strong interest in women's health with an emphasis on promoting fertility awareness.