When I meet a fertility patient for the first time, I always ask if they smoke cigarettes. This is important because smoking affects fertility. A lot of patients are not aware of the significant impact cigarette smoking can have on fertility. In the United States, about 30% of reproductive-age women and 35% of reproductive-age men smoke cigarettes. While we are well aware of the dangers of smoking to our overall health (lung cancer, respiratory disease, etc.), the effects of smoking on fertility is rarely addressed.

There are several consequences of smoking on fertility…

There are several ways smoking affects fertility, one of which is that menopause occurs 1 to 4 years earlier in smokers, compared to nonsmokers. This is thought to be due to an accelerated loss of ovarian follicles. Also noted is a delay in conception in those who smoke. In a large study, a delay in conception in a 12-month period was noted to be 54% higher in women who smoked. Smoking has also been shown to have an effect on semen parameters and can decrease sperm density, motility, and possibly morphology, as well as have an effect on sperm function.

There is also evidence that smokers require almost twice the number of IVF attempts to conceive than nonsmokers

In addition to all that, there is evidence that smoking is associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. There is also evidence that smokers require almost twice the number of IVF attempts to conceive than nonsmokers. If you or your partner is a smoker, be sure to talk to your primary care doctor about smoking cessation in preparation for pregnancy, to avoid the associated substantial reproductive risks.

Smoking affects fertility.

If you need help quitting smoking,┬áDominion Fertility can help…just let us know.

Smoking and Infertility: a committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility. Vol. 98, No. 6. December 2012.

 

Susan Sarajari, MD, PhD