Can Illegal Drug Use Affect My Fertility?



 

 

Cannabis leaf

 
It has been well documented that illegal drug use can have a negative impact on a person’s life and wellbeing. In fact, the health implications are drastically increased with each use. Side effects can vary between users but most illegal drug use has documented profound implications – from addiction, lung problems (like emphysema and COPD), destruction of brain cells, learning disabilities, and even death. Unfortunately, for many trying to conceive, using illegal drugs could also bring on difficulty in both getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term.

Use of Marijuana and Your Fertility

Marijuana can cause issues with fertility in any stage; from trying to conceive to carrying a healthy baby to full term.  Repeated usage of marijuana can tamper with a woman’s natural ovulation schedule, making it difficult to predict when, or if, a woman will ovulate throughout the month. Likewise, according to the Cleveland Clinic studies have shown that the THC in marijuana decreases sperm production in healthy males, and can in fact have a direct impact on the movement of sperm, making it less probable they can successfully reach the egg.

Use of Cocaine and Your Fertility

Using cocaine while trying to conceive can create an entire host of problems for both men and women. Men who continue to use cocaine often find their sperm counts are lowered dramatically. In fact, long-term use of cocaine can actually cause difficulty maintaining proper testosterone levels that can dramatically reduce the quality of sperm as well. In women, continued usage of cocaine can affect the menstrual cycle by preventing proper ovulation, implantation, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that in extreme cases, cocaine use can physically alter the fallopian tubes, preventing an egg from being released at all.

Use of Heroine and Your Fertility

Heroin use while trying to conceive can significantly affect the success rates in both men and women. For men using heroin, a reduced sperm count and increased likelihood of impotence has been noted. Obviously, this can cause a dramatic drop in successful attempts at pregnancy.  For women using heroin, an increased chance of miscarriage when becoming pregnant, premature birth, low birth weight, and even bleeding within the brain have been documented, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Even more, heroin usage increases the likelihood of contracting HIV, which can be passed on to the unborn child.





 

Use of Illegal steroids and Your Fertility

Use of illegal steroids in men can cause impotence and reduce sexual performance.  Illegal steroid use can also reduce the particular hormones that create sperm. For women, using illegal steroids can cause annovulation, thereby hindering your chances of conception.

 

 

While these are not all of the illegal drugs to consider while attempting to conceive, it is important to remember that any drug usage, whether prescribed or illegal, should be discussed with a family physician. There are countless drugs currently on the market that can significantly impact fertility rates, lessening the rate of a successful pregnancy dramatically. These drugs, while seemingly harmless, can cause long-term complications for both the mother and child if not treated properly before conception.

It is important to let your family physician know of any drug use, whether illegal or prescribed, before attempting to become pregnant. With extensive treatment options, overcoming addiction is possible and improving the likelihood of having a healthy baby can be significant.


Last modified: May 31, 2014

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