Paternal Smoking May Impact Embryonic Development

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Everyone acknowledges the risks in pregnant women smoking — well, almost everyone. But new evidences suggests that fathers smoking during the time of conception could impact the baby too. Daughters who were born to smoking fathers hit menopause earlier than those with nonsmoking daddies.

Reuters reports:

Women whose dads smoked while they were in the womb stopped having their periods about 13 months earlier than those whose dads were nonsmokers, [Dr. Misao] Fukuda and colleagues report in Fertility and Sterility. Whether her dad smoked did not influence when a woman had started her period, however.

Dr. Fukunda observed that smoking around the time of conception could affect sperm cells or the development of the embryo. Jennifer Ferris pointed out that chemicals from cigarette smoke may alter glands in the brain that produce reproductive hormones. Either way, more research is needed to determine the link.

Given the taboos surrounding women who smoke, I see no reason why dads shouldn’t be included on the anti-smoking campaign too. Ferris observes that smoking is more common in dads anyway, and therefore warrants more study:

“It would be nice to see more studies looking at paternal smoking because that still may be more common than women smoking during pregnancy.”