Factors that affect your fertility: recreational drugs
The use of marijuana and cocaine has increased steadily over the years to the point where, for some people, it is part of everyday life. Although still illegal, recreational drug use is increasingly socially acceptable. That does not mean it is healthy or safe. The fact is that these drugs can compromise both your and your partner's fertility. But, as with alcohol and tobacco, you can stop using recreational drugs and negate the damage to your fertility in a relatively short space of time.
If you continue to use them during a pregnancy, of course, it can have disastrous effects on your developing baby.
The Effects of Some Common Recreational Drugs
• Marijuana can lower a man's levels of FSH and LH, two hormones needed to produce sperm. It can also lower his libido. For the woman, marijuana can lead to irregular periods, reducing fertility and sometimes even stopping ovulation.
• Cocaine users will have a lower sperm count, poorly moving sperm and a high rate of abnormal sperm.
• Heroin can cause a decrease in testosterone levels.
• Cocaine and heroin, taken together, will make it harder for a woman to conceive and she is more likely to have a miscarriage, a stillbirth or a baby born with a malformation.
If you or your partner are taking medication while you are trying to conceive you should speak to your doctor about which drugs are medically essential and which are not. Some drugs have a direct effect on fertility and you do need to discuss this with your GP.
Many drugs can affect not only the man's sperm but also his ejaculatory function and libido. Some medicines may even cause impotence. These drugs can include sulphasalazine (used to treat irritable bowel), nitrofurantoin, tetracycline, cimetidine, ketoconazole, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and propranol.
In addition, medication given for conditions like gout or high blood pressure can interfere with fertility. And non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (often used for arthritis) can stop ovulation.