Why quit smoking and drugs

By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility

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WHY QUIT SMOKING?

Tobacco smoke possesses a multitude of toxins that can have adverse effects on the reproduction system, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine and metals. It also lowers the levels of certain micronutrients such as vitamin C and can cause an imbalance in antioxidant nutrient status.

Evidence suggests that women and men should think about quitting before trying for a baby or undergoing fertility treatment, to optimise their chances of successful conception. It takes around three months for eggs and sperm to mature, so try to quit at least three months before you start trying. NB. Second-hand smoke has also been found to affect fertility.

WHY SHOULD WOMEN QUIT?

  • Women who smoke are at increased risk of altered hormone activity, menstrual dysfunction, infertility, miscarriage and early menopause

  • Current smokers (not past) have markedly reduced pregnancy rates following treatment cycles in comparison to non-smokers

  • Women who smoke during pregnancy may harm the fertility of any male off spring they have

WHY SHOULD MEN QUIT?

  • Tobacco smoke may have adverse effects on semen volume, sperm density, count and motility

  • Men who smoke are at increased risk of sperm DNA fragmentation or oxidative stress

WHY QUIT TAKING RECREATIONAL DRUGS?

The use of recreational drugs appear to have a negative impact on fertility in both women and men. Smoking marijuana may negatively impact hormone regulation, movement through the oviducts, placental and fetal development, and can cause stillbirth. In males it can reduce testosterone levels, lower sperm count and prevent the sperm from fertilising an egg. Cocaine has been demonstrated to adversely affect the production of sperm and in women have impaired ovarian responsiveness to gonadotropins.

PRESCRIPTION/NON-PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Check with your doctor that any prescription/non-prescription drugs you’re taking are not negatively impacting your reproductive system and are safe for pregnancy.

REFERENCES

  • Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Rakesh Sharma et al. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013; 11: 66. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC3717046/

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of miscarriage and maternal exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy. Pineles BL et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Apr 1;179(7):807-23. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt334. Epub 2014 Feb 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24518810

  • Associations between lifetime tobacco exposure with infertility and age at natural menopause: the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study Tobacco Control. Hyland A et al. 14 December 2015. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052510. http:// tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2015/11/19/tobaccocontrol-2015-052510

  • The effects of smoking on ovarian function and fertility during assisted reproduction cycles. Van Voorhis BJ et al. Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Nov;88(5):785-91. https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8885914

  • Damaging legacy: maternal cigarette smoking has long-term consequences for male o spring fertility. A.P. Sobino et al. Human Reproduction, Volume 29, Issue 12, 1 December 2014, Pages 2719–2735. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/ article/29/12/2719/628103?searchresult=1

  • The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Male Fertility. Jason R. Kovac et al. Postgrad Med. 2015 Apr; 127(3): 338–341. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4639396/

  • Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Rakesh Sharma et al. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013; 11: 66. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC3717046/

Juliana Kassianos