Friday February 22, 2019

Sperm Count 50% Lower in Men Whose Fathers Smoke: Study

"Unlike the maternal ovum, the father's gametes divide continuously throughout life and mutations often occur at the precise moment of cell division

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Each sperm has 37.5MB of DNA information in it.
Each sperm has 37.5MB of DNA information in it.

While studies have repeatedly linked maternal smoking during pregnancy with reduced sperm count in male children, a new research showed that men whose fathers smoked at the time of pregnancy also had 50 per cent lower count of sperms than those with non-smoking fathers.

The findings showed that, independently of nicotine exposure from the mother, socioeconomic factors, and their own smoking, men with fathers who smoked had a 41 per cent lower sperm concentration and 51 per cent fewer sperm count than those with non-smoking fathers.

“I was very surprised that regardless of the mother’s level of exposure to nicotine, the sperm count of men whose fathers smoked was so much lower,” said Jonatan Axelsson, specialist physician at Lund University in Sweden. “We know there is a link between sperm count and chances of pregnancy, so that could affect the possibility for these men to have children in future.

“The father’s smoking is also linked to a shorter reproductive lifespan in daughters, so the notion that everything depends on whether the mother smokes or not doesn’t seem convincing,” he added.

However, the research has not determined the underlying mechanisms behind this. But, similar studies have shown links between smoking fathers and various health outcomes in children, such as malformations, Axelsson noted.

Child, baby, father
Sperm count 50% lower in men whose fathers smoke: Study. Pixabay

It could be because most newly occurring mutations (known as de novo mutations) come via the father and there are also links between the father’s age and a number of complex diseases, said researchers in the paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

In addition, researchers have observed that smoking is linked to DNA damage in sperm and that smokers have more breaks in the DNA strand. Children of fathers who smoke have been reported to have up to four times as many mutations in a certain repetitive part of the DNA as children of non-smoking fathers.

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“Unlike the maternal ovum, the father’s gametes divide continuously throughout life and mutations often occur at the precise moment of cell division.

“We know that tobacco smoke contains many substances that cause mutations so one can imagine that, at the time of conception, the gametes have undergone mutations and thereby pass on genes that result in reduced sperm quality in the male offspring,” Axelsson said. The study was conducted on 104 Swedish men aged between 17 and 20 years.  (IANS)

Next Story

Fathers Experience More Happiness Than Mothers in Their Parenthood, Says Study

"Fathers may fare better than mothers in part due to how they spend their time with their children," said Katherine Nelson-Coffey, Assistant Professor at the Sewanee, The University of the South in the US

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Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Fathers experience more well-being and satisfaction than mothers in their parenthood and even when interacting with their children, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of California in the US analysed three separate studies consisting of 18,000 people that looked at the scale of happiness, psychological satisfaction, depressive symptoms and stress among others.

The first two studies compared the well-being of parents with that of people who do not have children.

The findings published in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin”, showed that fathers reported greater satisfaction with their lives and feelings of connectedness to others.

Father and son
Father and son, Pixabay

They also reported greater positive emotions and fewer daily hassles than mothers, or relatives or peers without children.

They even showed fewer depressive symptoms than men without children, whereas mothers reported more depressive symptoms than women who do not have children.

The third study considered parenthood and well-being while engaging in childcare or interacting with children compared to other daily activities.

Men were found to be happier while caring for their children than women suggesting that gender significantly impacted the association between childcare and happiness.

Child, baby, father
A man twirls a young child on a waterfront park as downtown Seattle disappears in a smoky haze behind, Aug. 19, 2018. VOA

In terms of daily interactions also men reported greater happiness.

One possible explanation given said fathers were more likely to indicate they were playing with their children while they were caring for them or interacting with them as compared to the mothers.

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“Fathers may fare better than mothers in part due to how they spend their time with their children,” said Katherine Nelson-Coffey, Assistant Professor at the Sewanee, The University of the South in the US. (IANS)