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General Advice

Smoking and Fertility

Smoking is perhaps the habit that has most direct impact on fertility – for both men and women. Apart from the well known problems to general health caused by fertility there are a few other specific problems which relate to both male and female aspects of making a baby. The following are some of them.

  • Smoking decreases sperm count.

    There are several hundred toxins inhaled with cigarette smoke which have a direct effect on both the count as well as the motility and survival of sperm. Thankfully the improvement after stopping  smoking is pretty rapid.

  • Potency

    This is more of a long term problem caused by the hardening of the arteries of smokers. It’s the same mechanism that predisposes smokers to ischemia of the heart. Reduced capacity  of arterial supply to the penis will hamper its ability to get and sustain an erection.

    If this information doesn’t stop a man from smoking I can’t see what else can.

  • Ovarian reserve in women.

    It’s well known that smoking decreases the number of eggs that ovary has. Women smokers get their menopause a bit sooner than non-smokers. This may be partially related to the pooling of toxins or the reduced blood supply due to stiffening arteries.

    Ovarian blood supply gets compromised in chronic smokers and this then has further effect on the ovarian reserve.

    Considering that the number of follicles in your ovary decline with age anyway, one of the good things as our lifestyle improvement would be to give up smoking (active  and passive) for your ovarian function as well.

  • Increased risk of miscarriage

    This relates to the toxins in the blood as well as decreased blood supply in the endometrium which may have an effect on increased in the risk of miscarriages.

    Give off smoking is not the easiest resolution you can make. Knowing about the benefits of quitting smoking in terms of fertility may crank up your motivation.

    We are keen to support our clients on an overall fitness program including weight loss, smoking cessation and that of alcohol.

All about optimising sex to make babies

  • How much sex do we need to make a baby ?

    Hetero-sexual couples having unprotected sex have a 60% chance of becoming pregnant in the first six months and by the end of the year, around 85%  Considering that the average frequency a young couple has sex may be 2-3 times a week, we are looking at around 150-180 acts of intercourse (per couple per year) with 85% pregnancy rate. That means around 15,000 sexual intercourses by 100 couples to make 85 babies.

    At that rate, the chance of a single act of sex to get a woman pregnant is not that high, far less than 1% Not that efficient, as you can see. If it wasn’t so much fun, sex for reproduction would have been out of fashion a long time ago!

    Going back to the calculation above, probably only one or two of those 10-15 monthly intercourses (per couple) would be around the time of ovulation. Thus 12-24 (average 15)  intercourses each year are the ones which most likely to be “productive” and we thus can re-calculate, that a single act of intercourse around time of ovulation is likely to result in a pregnancy in approximately 2-4% of cases. Do bear in mind, the ovulation has not been predicted and the sperm not “prepared” for use.

    HFEA statistics on IUI (2 years ago) suggests that in women under 35 years who underwent donor insemination IUI treatment, the live birth rate was just under 16% So clinical pregnancy rate would have been even higher, perhaps nearer to the 20% mark. That is the best chance of success for what can be described as making sperm available to fertilize a woman’s egg and make her pregnant.

  • How do we cover the period of ovulation ? More sex ?

    The sperm is produced in batches starting every day and it takes around 70 days for a batch of sperm to be ready. It is observed that when the abstinence period is around 3 days the sperm count is good and the proportion of live and healthy sperms is most optimal. It is for that reason we like to check your sperm after 3 days abstinence and a rest period of 2-3 days between sexual intercourse is best suited for a couple to get pregnant.

    There is more on our site about how to know when you are most likely to ovulate and the science behind it.