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A couple, who didn. t know each other from a bar of soap when they took their seats in Business Class on a plane returning to London made all the front pages when they were caught in a . lewd and immoral act. at 35,000 feet. The pair were arrested when they touched down at Heathrow. The normal British reaction to this sort of thing is for everyone to look away and pretend its not happening, and then, once its all over, and they both light up and say how was it for you darling, then complain madly about these inconsiderate people smoking on a non smoking flight.

Odd that smoking and love making should have such a potent association in the public mind because we all know that smoking does nothing for fertility. In any case, who wants to snog an ash tray? But now comes news that smoking can trash your sex life not just your fertility. Compared to non-smoking men, those who light up, have sex less often and don. t enjoy it as much according to a report from the Andrology Institute in Lexington Kentucky, presented at the Toronto meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine last month. Non smoking men reported having sex about 12 times a month and rated it 9 on a 1-10 scale. Smokers with a 30 plus a day habit said they had sex six times a month and gave it 5 out of 10. . The male hormone testosterone may be affected by tobacco toxins stored in the testes. said the author of the report, Dr Panyiotis Zavos. Given that frequent sex is one of the best pieces of advice for those attempting pregnancy, I. d lose no time in stubbing out that habit.


At the same ASRM meeting, there was a completely contrary report about smoking in women from Maria Zenzes, the doctor who previously made headlines by demonstrating that damage from carcingens in tobacco smoke can be passed from a smoking father to his embryo through damaged sperm. She reported that smoking appears to improve a woman. s chance of producing healthy looking embryos suitable for IVF. She assessed how much women smoked by measuring levels of cotinine, a nicotine breakdown product in the fluid surrounding the eggs from 271 women undergoing IVF.. After controlling for maternal age (one of the best known causes of deteriorating egg quality), she found to her surprise that higher levels of cotinine were associated with a higher fertility rate and a greater proportion of sound embryos. So if this is true, why do smokers suffer more miscarriages? It sounds completely topsy turvy. However cigarette smoke contains a toxic chemical called benzopyrene. Work on lung cancer has shown that it plays a part in the onset of cancer by preventing abnormal cells from committing cell suicide . something cells are normally programmed to do if they turn nasty. In other words, smoking keeps defective cells alive that should have been weeded out. Embryologists choose the best embryos by looking out for signs of programmed cell death, such as fragmentation of the nucleus and rejecting them. So, although smoker. s embryos look normal, it. s a smokescreen, disguising abnormalities which will lead to more miscarriages down the line. As I said before, stub . em out.




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