Frustration and heartbreak are common experiences for many couples on their journey to parenthood. You and your significant other may spend months or years working with your doctor on medical and nonmedical methods of conceiving. Many health issues that impact infertility are out of the couple’s control, including genetics.

However, the good news is that there are various aspects of your lifestyle and environment that you may influence, including your food, exercise, alcohol consumption, and smoking.

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, among the leading IVF doctors in Delhi, says that smoking does not only affect a female’s fertility. Cigarette smoking can have an impact on the capacity of a man to get his partner pregnant.

Read on to understand how smoking effects on male fertility

Can Smoking Affect Your Sperm?

You may be aware that smoking is bad for your health, regardless of your gender. It has been linked to an increased chance of developing a variety of malignancies, heart disease, emphysema, and various other health problems in both men and women.

When we see a lady smoke, the first thing that usually pops in our head is, “She should not be smoking if she wants to have healthy babies in the future”. On the other hand, in men, smoking is often seen as a sign of masculinity. 

However, more and more studies have revealed that smoking on male reproductive system too. The eminent infertility specialist in delhi, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, says that not only can the poisons in cigarettes harm your lungs, but they also damage your reproductive system and sperm.

How Does Smoking Affect Fertility In Males?

Cigarette smoking has been shown to decrease sperm quantity and quality, putting a man’s fertility at stake. Men of reproductive age, those between the ages of 20 – 39, account for roughly half of all male smokers, making it critical to educate them about how smoking impacts their fertility.

Effect on sperm production

Testicles have a high metabolic requirement while still having a limited vascular supply (circulatory system); this makes them particularly vulnerable to hypoxia, which is decreased oxygen distribution to tissues.

To make matters worse, the compounds present in cigarettes, such as nicotine, lead, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, and arsenic, further deplete the oxygen supply in the body, resulting in decreased sperm production and male fertility.

Effect on sperm function

Smoking has been proven to impair the viability of the sperm to fertilize the egg in two ways:

  1. Smoking disrupts the mobility of the flagellum, the tail-like lower half of sperm that acts as a propeller aiding your sperm to swim. As a result, it becomes more challenging for your sperm to reach your partners’ egg.
  2. It is necessary for your sperm to undergo an activity to release acrosin, an enzyme that aids in fertilizing the egg. Studies have revealed that acrosomal activity decreases in males who smoke, and this significantly compromises their fertility.

Effect on sperm health

Sperm health can be assessed by:

  • Sperm count – the total number of all sperm per millilitre
  • Sperm morphology – the size and shape of the sperm
  • Sperm motility – the ability and speed of the sperm to reach an egg

The swimming sperms determine the likelihood of attaining a pregnancy in any given sperm concentration. Sperms that are healthy in size and shape swim well, and the higher the number of healthy sperm in a given concentration, the more sperm that will swim towards their goal of fertilizing the egg.

Various studies have indicated that smoking reduces the sperm count and generates abnormally shaped sperms which impact the motility (movement) of the sperm.

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, counted among the top IVF doctors in Delhi, adds that if you smoke, it can also impact your partners’ fertility, even if she does not smoke.

How does second smoke impact pregnancy?

Female fertility is negatively impacted by exposure to secondhand smoking. The presence of smoke on someone’s hair and clothing, even if they do not smoke in their home, can be harmful to other household members, especially a woman trying to get pregnant.

Even after your partner becomes pregnant, secondhand smoke can raise her chances of having a miscarriage, having a child with low birth weight, or learning problems.

Furthermore, smoke exposure to an infant has been shown to cause asthma, respiratory infections, and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Can smoking affect IVF-ICSI treatment?

Yes, smoking has an impact on the result of fertility treatment. For some couples undergoing reproductive treatments, smoking has played a part in the success or failure of their fertility treatments.

According to one study that investigated how smoking affected the success of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), pregnancy rates for couples in which the male partner smoked were reduced by 44%. Additionally, lower pregnancy rates have been seen for such couples when undergoing ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).

Can I switch to chewing tobacco?

Generally speaking, smoking is more hazardous to your well-being than chewing tobacco. Chewing tobacco, on the other hand, is anything but harmless. You have an increased risk of developing oral cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory cancer due to chewing tobacco.

According to research, heavy chewing has also been shown to negatively impact sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and viability.


Smoking is an awful thing that can cause cancer and heart diseases. If you want to see your children grow and be there for them in their life journey, now is the time for you to quit smoking. Remember, the longer you delay it, the more difficult it will be to stop smoking when you are older.

Your main goal should be to make your child’s environment healthy and stable. It is advisable to start working towards your destination even before your child is conceived; that will give your child the best start possible.

If you have trouble with your addiction and need some guidance to help you start your journey to parenthood, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, the founder of one of the best IVF centre in Delhi.

With over 35 years of expertise in Gynecology, Obstetrics, and Infertility, he can assess your situation and advise you on the best way to deal with your issues.


1. How does smoking affect fertility in men?

Smoking can negatively impact male fertility by reducing sperm quality, quantity, and motility. It can also lead to DNA damage in sperm, hormonal imbalances, and erectile dysfunction, all of which can impair fertility.

2. What are the long-term effects of smoking on male fertility?

Long-term smoking can have significant detrimental effects on male fertility. It can lead to reduced sperm count, decreased sperm motility (movement), and abnormal sperm shape. Smoking can also cause DNA damage in sperm, hormonal imbalances, and erectile dysfunction, all of which can impair fertility. Quitting smoking can help improve these fertility-related issues, but the extent of recovery varies from person to person.

Open chat
Connect with us on WhatsApp for quick help