Partying with cocaine may seem exciting, but if you are hoping to get pregnant or if you are having unprotected sex, it could be destructive beyond. Here's what you need to know about how cocaine affects fertility.
If you're wondering if cocaine use will affect your fertility, the answer is very clear: it will. Not only that but, it will affect a man's fertility, too. If you want even stronger reasons for both of you not to do cocaine while you are planning a family or if you aren't careful about birth control, cocaine has also been shown to cause birth defects, including, according to Drug Free World, premature birth, stunted growth, and brain and nervous system damage.
Let's focus here on fertility — the process of getting pregnant — and how much harder it is if you are using cocaine. According to Dr. Nancy Mello, who conducted several studies on cocaine and fertility in the 1990s, cocaine use messes with your menstrual cycle by affecting ovulation and the hormones needed for implantation. Cocaine use can lead to fallopian tube abnormalities that can affect a woman's long term fertility, according to Conceive Easy.
Coke doesn't just affect female fertility, but it can have a very pronounced effect on the male reproductive system as well. Men who use cocaine may experience changes in their hormone levels that can affect sperm movement, which in turn can lead to infertility, reports Drug Abuse. It can also affect sperm count, as shown in a 1990 study from Yale University that found there was a high prevalence of cocaine use in men with low sperm counts. And if they have been using for an extended period of time, long-term cocaine use can result in difficulty maintaining their testosterone level, in turn dramatically reducing the quality of the actual sperm, notes Baby Hope.
Not only is the sperm affected, but so is the male's ability to get erect from cocaine use due to the fact that it restricts testicular blood flow, according to Addiction Resource. Even more worrisome, the drug can actually pass from the sperm to the egg after fertilization, possibly resulting in miscarriage.
While there are some substances whereas the medical community is unsure of the effects of fertility, the message seems very clear with cocaine: It affects both men and women and most importantly, if you still are able to have a successful pregnancy, it affects your baby. Cocaine highs may be fun while they last, but the ongoing issues that they cause to the reproductive process are not worth it. And because cocaine is highly addictive, it's definitely not a habit you should adopt, especially if you're planning on having a baby.
In 2012, over 600,000 people tried cocaine for the first time. In the same year, over 658,000 people sought help for cocaine addiction, notes Addiction Center, further proving how easy it is to get hooked, no matter your intent. Cocaine use releases dopamine in the user's brain. It feels good — temporarily. Given that, using it occasionally leads to wanting to use it more and more. This is horrible for anyone, but especially for someone who is considering expanding their family as we've seen that it not only reduces your chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant, but also of having a healthy baby. On top of that, the drug can be life-threatening.
If you or your partner are tempted to try cocaine and are hoping to conceive, don't. But if either of you are already using and want to stop, please know that it's possible and that a healthy pregnancy can be in your future.
There are many resources available if you are using cocaine and want to stop. Google "cocaine treatment" and see if there are any centers in your area if you are looking for in-person treatment. In the meantime, here are immediate resources available:
Addiction Resource has a free and confidential drug hotline: 888-459-5511
Addiction Center connects you to behavioral health experts who will help you find counseling and support. 855-409-6820
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