Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Hazards of smoking on male and female fertility

                             “Love yourself enough to lead a healthy life "

We know that smoking can be a ground for cancer, heart problems, stroke and pulmonary diseases. Sadly, the list doesn’t end here, studies and analysis conducted worldwide indicates that smoking can cause infertility in both men and women. Smoking is not good for the health of  sperms and in turn has adverse affect on fertility. The fact is that smoking can actually cause infertility, miscarriages, preterm labours, growth retarded babies and the worst - childhood cancer.

Shocking fact is that more than one-third of the world’s population over the age of 15 years are smokers. 
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 harmful chemicals. It has around 60 carcinogens and mutogens including nicotine, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, benzopyrene, dimethylbenzanthracene, dimethylnitrosamine, naphthalene, and metanaphtalene. 

Negative consequences of smoking on  male fertility

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.

Mechanism of action
Creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme, expressed by various tissues and cell types that require high energy. This enzyme reversibly catalyzes conversion of creatine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to phosphocreatine and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). CK activity in seminal plasma, sperm cells and total semen considerably diminished with smoking. 

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 loses 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.

The reactive oxygen species ( ROS) are atoms with unstable electron and are byproducts of metabolism of glucose in living cells. They grab electrons from surrounding atoms, making them unstable, which ultimately becomes like a chain reaction, making the cells damage, degenerate or mutate. The ROS is found to be high in smokers. In normal conditions anti oxidants  repair the negative effects by donating the extra electron that the ROS requires. The levels of antioxidants are found low in smokers, even their capacity to neutralise ROS is found to be less.

Leukocytes (WBC) are the major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the ejaculate and elevated leukocytes impairs fertility by the formation of reactive oxygen species, which are in turn harmful to sperm DNA and membrane phospholipids because of oxidation, thus damaging sperms and causing mutation of genes leading to abnormalities. For more details on antioxidants read http://bangaloreivf.blogspot.ae/2015/10/what-are-antioxidants-and-their-benefits.html

Negative consequences of smoking on  female fertility

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.

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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