Marijuana Usage Among Males: Does Marijuana Affect Male Fertility?

If you’re trying to get pregnant it may be time to give up that marijuana vice.

A study performed at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom has linked the use of cannabis to significantly lower levels of fertility in men. However men that smoke pot can still get a woman pregnant.

The study examined the effects of many different factors of fertility in males as part of a science known as andrology. About 1,970 men were assessed for fertility via the size and shape of their sperm. As well as marijuana use, scientists compared the impact of factors such as employment history, BMI, medical history, brand of underwear, and use of alcohol, tobacco or other street drugs.

An abnormal sperm sample is less than 4 percent the correct size and shape, which decreases the chance they will be able to swim up the fallopian tube and fertilize an egg. According to the report published in the journal Human Reproduction, 318 of these men had abnormal sperm samples. More men with abnormal sperm samples admitted to smoking cannabis than men with normal sperm samples.

They also determined that men with abnormal sperm samples were more likely to be under the age of 30, and have consumed marijuana in the past three months. Collecting sperm in the summer seems to increase the likelihood of an abnormal sample.

Levels of THC seem to have a more drastic effect on the sperm count than alcohol, tobacco and other substances. Dr. Allan Pacey, the author of the study, notes that any of the other factors could have affected fertility, but they did not appear to have an effect. “The only thing we found that was a risk that a man can do something about was cannabis," Pacey said.

This isn’t the first time scientists have linked marijuana to infertility in men. Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York published similar studies in 2000, and then again in 2003.

Rebecca Sokol, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, confirmed that the study does not have enough evidence to draw definite conclusions. She noted to CNN, “The motto 'everything in moderation' is a wise approach for the couple who is planning a pregnancy.”

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