Smoking and male fertility

May 15, 2018

Most men don’t think that smoking a cigarette can affect their fertility. A tobacco-filled roll that we call a cigarette is not just extremely bad for your health, but it can impact your fertility negatively too. When you buy a pack of cigarettes, you can clearly see what’s written on it and it says, ‘smoking is injurious to health’. However, to what extent is it harmful? Smoking can cause various problems, such as cancer, heart disease, emphysema, etc.

European Urology published a report in the year 2016, which analyzed the effect smoking had on semen health. The study was conducted with the help of 5000 men all across Europe. It was found that smoking can reduce the sperm count, sperm motility, and can even have a negative effect on the sperm shape.

Men who smoke also reduce the chances of conception through IVF and it can also cause miscarriages.

What is the connection between smoking and semen health?

Men who smoke regularly can face the following fertility problems;

Sperm concentration

It is the number of sperms found in the semen. When men smoke regularly, it can decrease the sperm concentration by 23%. Thus, it can reduce the chances of conception or can take longer than usual.


What is sperm motility? It is nothing but the speed in which it swims. But, if your sperm loses its speed, it will have difficulties in reaching the egg and binding with it. And, when you smoke, your sperm motility reduces by almost 13%.


Sperm morphology means the shape of the sperm. It is important for the sperm to have its normal shape for it to swim correctly. When it becomes oddly shaped, it might not reach the egg and the fertilization may never take place. And, smokers usually have fewer healthy-shaped sperms.


Smoking leads to the increase in DNA fragmentation. And, the sperm damage may cause problems during fertilization, development of the embryo and its implantation, and can also cause miscarriages. Usually, when male partners smoke, their hormone levels are high, and this is one of the reasons why their fertility gets affected.

But, the big question. Does smoking really cause problems with male fertility?

The depletion in one’s sperm health and unusual hormonal levels might not always cause infertility. But, the risks are always there. However, if men are borderline infertile, smoking may deteriorate the condition. Therefore, if your semen analysis shows that infertility may be an issue, it is mandatory that you quit smoking.

Will sperm health improve once you quit smoking?

Yes, but the exact amount of time is not known. However, it takes about three months for the sperm cells to mature. Therefore, quit 3-4 months before you try for pregnancy to improve sperm health and increase your success rate.

Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking is associated with erectile dysfunction. Several studies show that the more the man smokes, the more his chances of suffering from erectile dysfunction increases. Though it is not the same as infertility, your sexual performance will go down and conception will not be an easy task.

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