Mothers Who Smoke During Pregnancy Risk Harming Son's Fertility

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Mothers who smoke during pregnancy could be endangering their son’s fertility, according to new research conducted by the University of Newcastle.

The study found that smoking during pregnancy causes damage to a man’s reproductive organs which causes them to produce faulty sperm. The consequences were seen in men now in their 30s and 40s whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.

Around one in eight women currently smoke during pregnancy, though the percentage was much higher in the 1970s and 80s when the harmful effects were less known.

Researchers studied mice who inhaled the equivalent of 24 cigarettes a day before giving birth. The male pup mice who were produced were found to have fewer and lower quality sperm than the mice who had “non-smoking” mothers. Scientists noted that smoking one cigarette is the equivalent of putting a fetus in a smoky room for 15 minutes.

Though the study was performed on mice, the researchers insisted that the findings apply to human mothers.

“It would be unethical to deliberately expose pregnant mothers and their offspring to the toxins in cigarettes,” Professor Eileen McLaughlin, co-director of the Priority Research Center in Chemical Biology at the University of Newcastle, said.

McLaughlin added that this is the first time scientists have been able to prove that cigarette toxins during pregnancy affect a child’s fertility later in life.

The researchers, who published their study in Human Reproduction, noted that even if a boy never picked up a cigarette during his teen or adult years, his fertility could still be permanently damaged by his mother’s decisions.

Researchers plan to study the effects of smoking mothers on the future fertility of daughters.

Source: DailyMail


 
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