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Houston Fertility Center

Can Smoking Affect Male Fertility?

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on January 29, 2016

Couple embracing outdoorsWhen couples start on their journey toward parenthood, many hit unexpected bumps in the road. In many cases, couples find that getting pregnant is not as quick or easy as they thought it would be. As the number of unsuccessful attempts grows, most begin to question their fertility. Fertility specialist Sonja Kristiansen offers fertility evaluations to help diagnose potential sources of infertility, in both male and female patients. Many factors can affect a person’s fertility, even habits and lifestyle choices, such as smoking. While there is a lot of evidence to show that smoking affects female fertility, studies are also finding that smoking affects male fertility. Dr. Kristiansen discusses the effects of smoking on male infertility and helps our Houston, TX patients explore fertility treatments that can help them overcome this obstacle.

Smoking’s Effect on Male Fertility

It is no secret that smoking is bad for your health. There are years and years of research to back up this fact. Smoking has been clearly linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Because it is evident that smoking can have an adverse effect on a person’s overall physical health, some researchers are now beginning to study the effect of smoking on fertility. When it comes to male fertility, studies suggest that smoking can have an adverse effect on the quality of a male’s sperm. Below are some statistics regarding the findings linking smoking and male fertility:

  • Smoking can decrease sperm concentration (the number of sperm found in a sample of semen) by up to 23 percent
  • Men who smoke are found to have a 13 percent decrease in sperm motility, or the ability of the sperm to swim properly
  • Male smokers have been shown to have fewer healthy-shaped sperm and are more likely to have abnormally-shaped sperm (which makes swimming toward the female’s egg more difficult)

On their own, these effects may not make a man completely infertile. However, they can increase the difficulty of conception. Additionally, if other fertility problems are present, these factors can further compound the problem and make it even more difficult to conceive.

Treating Infertility

For the overall health of the patient, it is always a good idea for patients to quit smoking. In fact, studies show that most of the adverse effects of smoking can be reversed within a year of quitting this harmful habit. However, when other issues are present, or when infertility simply continues to be a problem, Dr. Kristiansen does offer several fertility treatments that can address problems related to both male and female infertility. Some fertility treatments that may be considered include the following:

  • IUI, or intrauterine insemination
  • IVF, or in vitro fertilization
  • Sperm and egg donation
  • Surrogacy

Dr. Kristiansen can discuss any of these options with patients in further detail to help them determine which option is most appropriate for their unique situation.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have not been successful in your attempts to become pregnant, it may be time to look into fertility treatment options. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen understands that this can be a difficult time for patients, and she and her staff offer a personal level of care that eases stress and anxiety. To learn more about our fertility services, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

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