It is a well-established fact that a woman's lifestyle and daily habits have an effect on their chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby. However, growing evidence shows that men's behaviour before pregnancy may also be important.
A new report linking caffeine consumption to miscarriage found that when either men or women drank three cups or more of caffeinated drinks before pregnancy, the woman was nearly twice as prone to early miscarriage. In recent studies, researchers have discovered evidence that a host of lifestyle factors of a man including stress, drug abuse, overeating, smoking, and heavy drinking can have an impact on the sperm count of the son.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden conducted a study on 104 Swedish men aged between 17 and 20. Once the mother's own exposure to nicotine, socio-economic factors, and the sons own smoking were adjusted, it was shown that men with fathers who smoked had a 41percent lower sperm concentration and 51percent less sperm than men with non-smoking fathers.
Unlike the maternal ovum, the gametes of the father divide continuously throughout life and mutations often occur at the precise moment of cell division. So it can be conferred 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. In addition, researchers have observed that smoking is linked to DNA damage in sperm and that smokers have more breaks in the DNA strand.