You probably heard it before but it is absolutely true! The best available scientific data indicates that cigarette smoking strongly contributes to infertility. And it’s not just women that need to stop smoking, smoking also affects men’s fertility adversely.
Cigarette smoking has a negative impact on the ability to become pregnant and carry a pregnancy to term. The prevalence of infertility is higher in smokers than nonsmokers. Active smoking by either partner has adverse effects and the impact of passive cigarette smoke exposure is only slightly smaller than for active smoking!
According to research conducted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, cigarette smoking is harmful to a woman’s ovaries and the degree of harm is dependent upon the amount and the period of time a woman smokes. Smoking accelerates the loss of eggs and reproductive function and may advance the time of menopause by several years.
Then if you have IVF, nearly twice as many attempts are required to conceive in smokers than nonsmokers. Current research has reported that female smokers require higher doses of gonadotropins to stimulate their ovaries. They also have lower peak estradiol levels, fewer oocytes obtained, more canceled cycles, lower implantation rates and undergo more cycles with fewer results in fertilization than non smokers. Miscarriage rates are also higher in smokers!
Don’t think male smokers are spared from infertility. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count and motility. They also have increased abnormalities in sperm’s shape and function. Although the effects of smoking on male fertility remains somewhat inconclusive, the harmful effects of second hand smoke on the fertility of female partners is well known.
According to the CDC, smoking also contributes to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The cause of SIDS is not known but babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate.
The best prevention of harmful effects of smoking on fertility is quitting. An important study on cessation of smoking for at least two months prior to IVF significantly improved the chances for conception. For overall better health of all family members, it is always best to quit smoking. So start today!
Reprinted with permission from American Society for Reproductive Medicine