Dr Allan Pacey’s new study investigating lifestyle factors associated with poor sperm morphology (that is, the size and shape of sperm) reveals that the recreational use of cannabis is a factor.
The study, published in Human Reproduction June 2014, suggests that other lifestyle factors such as alcohol and cigarettes do not seem to have an effect on the size and shape of sperm: “It is intriguing that the use of cannabis can have a measurable effect on sperm morphology and it seems likely that the more marked effect is in younger men”. This may be because younger men can be more inclined to smoke cannabis more frequently and in greater quantity than older men. The study showed that cannabis doubled the risk of men under 30 having poor sperm quality. “It is therefore reassuring to find that there are a few identifiable risks, although our data suggests that cannabis users might be advised to stop using the drug if they are planning to try and start a family.”
Although this study and previous studies conducted by Dr Pacey have suggested that alcohol, obesity and smoking do not appear to affect sperm morphology and quality in men, the advice is obviously to be in good health when looking at conception. And in order to maintain a healthy sperm count it is worth switching to loose fitting underpants rather than tight Y-fronts as sperm production in the testes is affected by high temperatures.
Morphology is only one factor in the assessment of your semen and even if this shows some abnormal results your overall result may still be within the normal range.
The Herts & Essex Fertility Centre can provide rapid fertility assessment for any man or couple who have concerns with their fertility. A comprehensive, on-site semen assessment can give you an immediate idea of your fertility potential. Appointments for this assessment are readily available and can be arranged by calling 01992 78 50 60.