No Butts about it – Smoking Definitely Impacts Male Fertility

So you want to be a dad? Well guys, that’s another great reason to kick that smoking habit once and for all. With a lethal mix of over 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that smoking can seriously affect your little swimmers. In fact, research suggests that smoking can reduce a male fertility by as much as 30%.

The man’s role in natural conception

Sperm meets egg and  there’s a baby on the way. Putting it like this can make fertilisation look like a fairly easy process but it’s certainly more complex. For natural conception to occur, the man’s body must be able to:

  • Maintain an erection;
  • Produce and ejaculate sufficient, healthy and well-formed sperm;
  • Produce fast swimmers that can move in the right direction.

As you can imagine, anything that disrupts one or more of these key events can reduce your chances of pregnancy. And guess what, smoking messes with all three!

Here’s why smoking spells trouble for your fertility

Erectile dysfunction

It seems that smoking could make it more difficult for a man to maintain an erection for various reasons.

  • Scientists have associated the chemicals in the smoke to a higher likelihood of atherosclerosis, build-up of plaque in the arteries. Since this plaque hinders blood flow throughout the body, circulatory issues down there could make it harder for the big guy to stand up.
  • Smoking does not only damage blood vessels but it also causes harm the penile tissue itself. Consequences: as the penis loses its elasticity, it gradually becomes less able to stretch.

Poor semen quality

Several studies comparing semen quality between smokers and non-smokers found that male smokers are more likely to show the following characteristics:

  • Low sperm count – The sperm count refers to the number of sperm in your semen. Your sperm count would be considered lower than normal if your semen contains fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre.
  • Abnormal sperm shape – Healthy sperm has a round head and a long tail which help this little champion swim and ultimately penetrate the egg to fertilise it.
  • Suboptimal sperm motility – Sperm motility refers to the swimming ‘skills’ of the sperm. If it cannot swim properly, the sperm won’t be able to come close enough to the egg let alone ‘win the race’ and fertilise the egg.

Statistics don’t lie:

Researchers investigating differences in semen quality between smokers and non-smokers found that smokers had a 15.3% decrease in sperm density, a 17.5 to 24% lower sperm count and 16.6% fewer motile sperm.

Things you can do to boost your fertility

Stop smoking!

  • A small study showed that men who stopped smoking experienced a 50 to 80% increase in sperm count indicating that the damage smoking does to male fertility may be reversible.
  • Another study found that men who managed to quit smoking and stop nicotine patches had thicker and firmer erections compared to those were still smoking and using the patches. And get that, the men who remained nicotine-free reached maximal arousal five times faster than those who relapsed. (Not to worry, these men did not climax faster.)
  • Men who successfully stopped smoking had a 75% remission rate of erectile dysfunction.

Seek treatment

We know that albeit being a simple test, semen analysis can be very stressful and perhaps embarrassing for some men. But the test remains the first step to take when a couple is having trouble conceiving.

Nourish your little guys

Check out our articles on fertility diet for him and factors that affect male fertility.

Maintain a healthy weight

More information about the link between weight and male fertility.

Make heart-healthy changes

Researchers found that, compared to men who didn’t try to lower their risk factors for heart disease, those who did were 2.5 times more likely to experience an enhanced sexual function after as little as six weeks. This analysis included six clinical trials involving over 700 men from four countries.

Wondering how these men improved their heart health? They simply exercised more, Eat healthier and controlled their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

For more details,

Dr.Narahari Malagaonkar

Fertility Consultant

 MD, DNB, FCPS, DFP ( Mumbai),

Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine (Singapore)

Contact@+919403932404,0253-2347721, E-Mail: