Men who smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco often have low sperm counts and poor sperm motility, both of which can drastically reduce a couple's chances of conceiving. Women who smoke can suffer from reduced ovarian reserve and chromosomal abnormalities, and are at increased risk of suffering from a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Marijuana and Fertility
Marijuana use has long been thought to play a role in both female and male infertility. However, it is only in the past few years that any research supporting this theory has become available. According to a study performed in 2003, regular cannabis smoking can have serious effects on male infertility including:
- lowered sperm count
- decreased volume of seminal fluid
- poor sperm motility
Additionally, those sperm that do enter the vaginal canal tend to be over stimulated as a result of the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This causes sperm to slow down when they approach the egg, and, as a result, they are unable to break through the egg's outer casing.
Female fertility also appears to be affected by regular use of marijuana. Women who smoke the drug regularly secrete small amounts of THC in their vaginal fluid and also have trace amounts present in their reproductive organs. Sperm that come into contact with this THC absorb the drug and become over stimulated.
Steroids and Fertility
Anabolic steroids are derived from the male hormone, testosterone. As a result, use of steroids can have a dramatic affect on both the male and female reproductive system, permanently affecting fertility. In men, steroid use can lead to:
- decreased sperm production
- increased numbers of abnormal sperm
- erectile dysfunction
- atrophy of the testicles
Steroids can also negatively affect female fertility, inhibiting the release of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones needed for ovulation, disrupting menstruation, and causing the appearance of masculine traits.
Street drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy have all been shown to have dramatic affects on male and female fertility. Long-term use of these drugs can lead to permanent reproductive problems and could prevent you from becoming pregnant. Men who use cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy often suffer from:
- reduced libido
- abnormally-shaped sperm
- poor sperm count
Women who use these drugs can also be affected, and may suffer from:
- ovulatory dysfunction
- menstrual irregularities
- reduced ovarian reserves
Talk with other women about the effects of drugs on fertility in our forum.