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Results of a recent study demonstrate a significantly negative impact of smoking on male fertility. Among men with subfertility (an inability of a sexually active couple not using contraception to achieve pregnancy in 1 year), those who were smokers in the study had significantly worse parameters necessary for fertility, such as sperm count, semen volume, sperm motility, and normal sperm forms than did nonsmokers.
A total of 100 men were enrolled in the study, and all were selected from a group that had been attending an infertility clinic. None had a history of alcohol or drug use. The 50 men assigned to the nonsmokers group had a mean age of 39.5 years, while the 50 men in the smokers group were slightly younger (37.1 years). The study was conducted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where men smoke either typical tobacco or shisha, a type of tobacco used in water pipes.
The investigators evaluated a number of parameters and found that when compared with men who did not smoke, smokers had a significantly higher average percentage of abnormal sperm forms (which reduces fertility) and significantly lower figures on three other key factors: sperm count, semen volume, and sperm motility.
The longer a man had been smoking also had a negative impact on sperm motility. No difference was seen between men who smoked regular tobacco or shisha.
Results of this study illustrate the negative impact smoking can have on fertility in men, and specifically men who have been found to be subfertile. These findings, and those of previous studies, suggest that men with subfertility who smoke should quit to prevent damage to semen and sperm quality and to improve their chances of fatherhood.
Hussein A et al. Effect of tobacco smoking on semen quality in men with subfertility. UrolToday International Journal 2011 Feb; 4(1): art11