Two studies highlight the damage done by smoking on fertility. I learned of these studies from BioNews (click here for the link to the article). Everyone knows that smoking is generally harmful, but how it harms fertility is confusing.
In the this article, the study suggests a mechanism whereby the mother’s smoking habit can impair the development of sperm in the growing embryo/fetus. Message: pregnant mothers should not smoke – nothing new but another reason for not smoking.
In the second article (separate post), the authors show data that the proteins that compact the DNA is diminished and could allow more sperm DNA damage from external forces.
Cigarette smoking during early pregnancy reduces the number of embryonic germ and somatic cells
Mamsen LS et. al.; Hum. Reprod. (2010) doi: 10.1093/humrep/deq215 First published online: September 7, 2010
Analysing the effect of maternal smoking on the number of germ cells in human embryonic gonads adjusting for gender and age showed that the number of germ cells was significantly reduced by 41% (95%, CI 58–19%, P = 0.001) when the exposed and non-exposed groups were compared.
This significant negative effect was dose-dependent and was consistent after adjusting for possible confounders such as alcohol and coffee consumption (P = 0.002)