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Tobacco, Marijuana, and Other Drugs

Toxic effects related to tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs

Smoking may cause infertility in both men and women. In experimental animals, nicotine has been shown to block the production of sperm and decrease the size of male testicles. In women, tobacco changes the cervical mucus, thus affecting the way sperm reach the egg.

Marijuana may disrupt a woman's ovulation cycle, affecting the release of the egg. In men, marijuana use can decrease the sperm count as well as affect the quality of the sperm.

Heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine use induces similar effects but places the user at increased risk for PID and HIV infection associated with risky sexual behavior.

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GIFT and ZIFT

GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) and ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer) are modified versions of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Like IVF, these procedures involve retrieving an egg from the woman, fertilizing it, and implanting the resulting embryo in the uterus, but in GIFT and ZIFT the process goes more quickly. While in traditional IVF the embryos are observed and raised in a laboratory for 3 to 5 days, in ZIFT, the fertilized eggs -- at this stage called zygotes -- are placed in the fallopian...

Read the GIFT and ZIFT article > >

In women, the effects of alcohol are related to severe consequences for the fetus. And chronic alcoholism is related to disorders in ovulation, which interferes with fertility. Alcohol use by men interferes with the synthesis of testosterone and has an impact on sperm concentration. Alcoholism may delay a man's sexual response and cause impotence by interfering with a man's ability to have an erection.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 06, 2014

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