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Guys – Could smoking be stunting your sperm?

37% of men of reproductive age are smokers.  That’s really high!  If you’re ready to conceive it is well worth considering the impact that smoking is having on your/ your partner/ your sperm donor’s swimmers.

A recent meta analysis pulled together twenty studies looking at the effects of cigarette smoking on sperm health in terms of sperm count, motility and morphology.


What does that even mean? 

Sperm count, motility and morphology are three parameters that mark the health of sperm.

  • Count: The number of sperm in a semen sample.  More sperm = more chances of one meeting the egg.
  • Motility: How well sperm move.  Sperm have a long way to swim.  The better they move, the more likely they are to make the journey.
  • Morphology: How well a sperm is shaped.  Sperm need an oval head and a long tail to successfully penetrate and fertilise an egg for conception.


And?  Does science say you should quit smoking for the sake of your sperm?

To put it bluntly… yes.  This study showed a strong correlation between cigarette smoking and decreased sperm health across all three parameters.  This means conception is more difficult, because it is so much harder for a sperm to reach and fertilise the egg.


The study also showed an effect size, meaning that sperm health was worse in the heavier smokers, compared to the light smokers.  In a practical sense, this tells us that even decreasing cigarette smoking is more beneficial than taking no action.


Quitting is hard.  Can acupuncture help?

Yes!   Acupuncture has been proven to be a beneficial tool for decreasing and quitting smoking.  Importantly, evidence shows that the effects of smoking cessation acupuncture are long lasting.  This study compared two groups of people trying to quit smoking and found that even after 5 years, those in the acupuncture group were more likely to be non-smoking, or to smoke less than those who did not receive acupuncture.  Why wouldn’t you?


What else can I do to naturally support sperm health?

Pre-conception care is not just a lady thing.  It takes about 74 days to complete a cycle of spermatogenesis -  that’s 74 days to have an impact on the health of your sperm as it matures.  A few very minor adjustments can have seriously big pay offs, start here for quick sperm health hacks.  If you’re ready to take your fertility health seriously and you're looking for individualised advice and support, drop me a line.  I am now taking online consultations, or you can see me here at our clinic in Manly, Sydney.




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