Lifestyle factors such as alcohol intake and cigarette smoking have long been reported to affect male fertility.
In this study, the semen analysis results of 100 alcoholics and 100 cigarette smoker males were studied with respect to the NICE guidelines and compared with 100 strict nonalcoholic and nonsmoker males for presence of asthenozoospermia, oligozoospermia and teratozoospermia1
- asthenozoospermia is the medical term for reduced sperm motility.
- oligozoospermia refers to semen with a low concentration of sperm2
- teratozoospermia is a condition characterised by the presence of sperm with abnormal morphology,
- normozoospermia refers to normal sperm readings with all minimum parameters of the WHO met or exceeded.
The study found that
- Only 12% alcoholics and 6% smokers showed normozoospermia compared to 37% nonalcoholic nonsmoker males.
- Teratozoospermia, followed by oligozoospermia dominated alcoholics. This group had poorly shaped sperm and a low number of sperm.
- Smokers suffered from asthenozoospermia and teratozoospermia, but not of oligozoospermia. Their sperm therefore had poor motility and was present in low numbers. The number of normal shaped sperm (morphology), however, was similar to the non-smoking and non-drinking group.
- Light smokers predominantly showed asthenozoospermia, i.e. poor motility compared to the WHO guidelines.
- Heavy alcoholics and smokers showed asthenozoospermia, teratozoospermia as well as oligozoospermia. This group had the poorest sperm quality with shape, movement and number of sperm all reduced.
Further, Erectile Dysfunction is 85% more common in smokers than non-smokers!3
These findings are not surprising. Alcohol abuse apparently targets sperm morphology and sperm production. Smoke-induced toxins primarily hamper sperm motility and seminal fluid quality. Progressive deterioration in semen quality is related to increasing quantity of alcohol intake and cigarettes smoked. In other words, the more alcohol and cigarettes are consumed, the poorer the sperm becomes.
If you are an aspiring father and would like to optimise your spem to maximise your chances of getting your partner pregnant, you are best advised to abstain from alcohol and cigarettes immediately and for as long as you can – at least until your partner is pregnant and ideally beyond.
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20090219” ↩
- “Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers, 2007 by Saunders; The American Heritage Medical Dictionary 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company; Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition 2009; McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies” ↩
- “Haake P. Exton M.S. Haverkamp J. Krämer M. Leygraf N. Hartmann U. Schedlowski M. Krueger T.H.C, Absence of orgasm-induced prolactin secretion in a healthy multi-orgasmic male subject, (2002), International Journal of Impotence Research, Issue 14, Volume 2, Pages 133–135. DOI:10.1038/sj/ijir/3900823″ ↩