Midwest Reproductive Center

Smoking and Infertility

Smoking and infertility: How smoking can decrease the odds for getting pregnant

Couples who are struggling to get pregnant often visit Dr. Dan Gehlbach to find answers. Although it can be comforting finding these answers, it is also difficult to eliminate habits that are decreasing your odds for getting pregnant. Smoking cessation and quitting altogether can be difficult, but both of these options will increase your odds for getting pregnant as well as keeping your heart, lungs and blood vessels healthy.

How smoking and infertility are linked in women

Smokers generally take longer to conceive, and the risk of infertility in smokers is twice that of non-smoking individuals. Studies show that smoking has a negative effect on most body systems, but especially the reproductive system.

These studies found that smoking is harmful to women’s ovaries, and the amount of harm depends on the amount of time the woman has been smoking or the amount of secondhand smoke exposure. Secondhand smoke can have equally negative effects on reproduction; even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause instantaneous harm.

If your partner smokes and you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke and eliminate smoking indoors.

Smoking and infertility cause-effects also include:

  • Inability of cells to make estrogen
  • Causing a woman’s eggs to have genetic abnormalities
  • Accelerated loss of eggs and reproductive function
  • Early menopause

How smoking and infertility are linked in men

Smoking has negative effects on men as well, although the studies are more difficult to conduct. Because the effects are severe in women, if you are a male smoker, it is important to limit your partner’s exposure.

In men, smoking can cause:

  • Lower sperm count
  • Lower sperm motility
  • Increased chance for abnormalities in sperm shape and function

The effects of smoking on IVF and other fertility treatments

Research proves a correlation between smoking and infertility. If you have tried fertility treatments and they have not been successful, it may be time to make some other changes. Smoking while undergoing these treatments can require higher dosages of ovary stimulating hormones, and can take twice as many attempts with treatment compared to non-smokers.

While IVF and other treatments are great options for infertility, these treatments may not override the negative effects of smoking.

Smoking while receiving treatment can also cause:

  • Lower implantation rates
  • Canceled cycles
  • Fewer oocytes obtained

Good news: Smokers who are able to quit smoking can stop or even reverse the negative effects caused by cigarettes.

Contact Midwest Reproductive Center to learn more about smoking and infertility. We support you in your efforts. Smoking cessation provides you and your partner with greater chances of getting pregnant and experiencing the sweet miracle of life.