Saturday, 2 August 2014

Is smoking the reason for your Infertility?

It’s a well known fact that smoking is a silent killer causing cancer, heart problems, stroke and pulmonary diseases. But numerous studies have also clearly identified a clear link between smoking and male / female infertility. "Vitality and beauty are gifts of Nature for those who live according to its laws."

Several researches and studies conducted worldwide reveals that considerable degradation  of semen quality in smoking males  were noticed  compared to their nonsmoking counterparts. The smokers semen samples showed reduced sperm count, motility  and viability. This low quality sperm is  less likely to fertilize eggs, which in turn inhibits the chance of conceiving.

Human sperm comprises  proteins called protamine 1 and protamine 2. In smokers, the perfect balance between these two proteins is lost and there is  permanent and severe DNA damage leading to prevention of oocyte fertilisation or the development of the embryo resulting in miscarriages. This damaged sperm looses its power to ward off destructive free radicals in semen.  Toxic materials have also been detected in smokers semen. Nicotine  is also known to alter the hormonal balance through stimulation of cortisol, the growth hormone, which in turn will  curb the release of LH,FSH and PRL. Smoking can also lead to erectile dysfunction due to circulatory problems caused by the blocking of arteries.

Smoking---------> alter protiens in semen -------> DNA damage--
-----> failure of fertilisation, infertility,  miscarriages, abnormal babies

Smoking------> nicotine -----> steroid release-----> alter FSH, LH,PRL----->male infertility

Smoking------> clogged arteries --------> Erectile problems-----> male infertility

It is highly advisable for women to quit smoking before they plan their pregnancy. A pregnant smoker is risking her unborn baby’s life as smoking aggravates the risk of spontaneous abortion, premature birth, very low birth weight, sudden infant death and ectopic pregnancies. I advice my patients to quit smoking at least 3 months prior doing the IVF procedure, as smoking unfavorably affects the procedure through premature aging of ovaries. Physiology of the men is such that they keep producing semen throughout their life. But women are born with a fixed number of eggs, if these eggs are damaged or depleted no amount of treatment can bring them back. Heavy Cigarette smoking has proven to cause tubal and  cervical problems  and DNA damages to the ovarian follicles. Even early menopause caused by premature aging of ovaries has been linked to smoking.

Bottom line is " if you want to cuddle a hale and healthy baby, then don’t delay and quit smoking today".

Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre

Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy . Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

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