Midwest Reproductive Center

Smoking and Infertility: The Hidden Hazards of the Daily Habit

Smoking has always posed numerous health hazards, both to the smokers themselves and to others around them who consume second-hand smoke. Men and women who are trying to start a family, however, should be aware that smoking also presents a direct threat to their fertility. Here at Midwest Reproductive Center we are dedicated to providing not only state-of-the-art fertility treatments, but also lifestyle counseling with the aim of improving fertility and overall health.

Effects on Female Fertility

The 2004 Surgeon General’s Report specifically cited smoking as a cause of cervical cancer and “a wide range of reproductive complications.” It goes to explain that the substances in tobacco smoke may impair gonadotropin production, ovary and oocyte health, and implantation of egg cells in the uterine wall. These issues occur regardless of whether a woman has managed to become pregnant in the past. The study notes that women who smoke face a higher risk for infertility and delayed conception than the general population, as well as a higher incidence of spontaneous abortions and ectopic pregnancies for those who do manage to conceive.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that cigarette smoking may be the cause of 13 percent of all female infertility cases.

Effects on Male Fertility

According to a report by the ASRM, smoking has been shown to reduce sperm count by 22 percent on average, with higher smoking rates associated with lower numbers. Smoking also negatively affects the formation and motility of sperm. While this may not cause infertility in a male with a naturally high sperm count and motility, it could render a borderline-fertile male infertile. Moreover, since there is no such thing as “safe” or non-toxic exposure to tobacco smoke, one partner’s smoking habit could reduce the other partner’s fertility to some degree.

Smoking Cessation Is a Smart Fertility Strategy

We urge anyone who wishes to conceive a child to either stop smoking or never initiate the habit at all. If you find that you cannot kick the habit, “cold turkey,” the American Cancer Society website has a wealth of helpful tips and advice to help you quit. Smoking cessation can significantly improve the chances of successful fertility treatments — and we want nothing more than to aid your quest to become a parent. Contact Midwest Reproductive Center today for more information.


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