How is Smoking Related to Infertility?
Among the many disastrous effects of smoking, infertility is a major one. Smoking can impact the fertility of both men and women. In the case of men, smoking makes them less fertile as compared to non-smokers. Let's take a look at how is smoking related to male infertility:
Cigarettes are known to have about 41000 chemicals. Some of these chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, acetone, and arsenic, are known to cause erectile dysfunction in men. These chemicals, and particularly nicotine, impacts the blood vessels that deliver blood to the penis and reduces the blood flow. As such, it becomes difficult for smokers to get and Sustain erection.
Smoking impacts sperm and makes them less effective in fertilising eggs. Even if the sperm cells manage to fertilise an egg, the embryos they create have a thin possibility of survival. This happens because human sperm cells contain two proteins called protamine 1 and protamine 2. They remain in one-to-one balance inside the sperm. But the sperm cells of smokers carry very little protamine 2. This imbalance between the proteins makes sperm cells susceptible to DNA damage. When such a damaged sperm reaches an egg, it reduces its ability to fertilise the egg. Even if the egg is fertilised, the risk of miscarriage is high.
The sperm cells damaged by smoking lose their ability to fight off the free radicals. They are the destructive oxygen molecules that exist in the seminal fluid. Note that smoking itself causes an increase of free radicals in the fluid. These free radicals are responsible for sperm DNA fragmentation. They also create issues with sperm motility. This again impacts the fertility potential of the sperm.
All these factors come together to illustrate that smoking causes infertility in men.