Smoking and fertility


Smoking is internationally recognized as a harmful habit and long term campaigns aim to reduce tobacco use in all ages.

Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular episodes in all ages and some types of cancer. Moreover, smoking has an impact on the fertility of both men and women. Women who smoke experience menopause 4 years earlier, require higher drug doses to initiate stimulation and need twice the number of assisted reproduction cycles to achieve a pregnancy compared to non-smokers.  Studies report 40% fewer oocytes retrieved from smokers who have an adjusted lifetime risk of not achieving a pregnancy of 2.71. The chemicals in cigarettes not only affect oocytes but also the quality of sperm and erectile function, and the baby’s health as well.  In short, smoking affects hormone production in men and women, the DNA of both sperm and eggs, the embryo’s ability to reach and implant in the uterus and the environment in which the embryo develops.

On a positive note, some of the effects of smoking on fertility are reversible. The duration of spermatogenesis is 3 months.  Hence, men who quit smoking 3 months before conception improve the quality of their sperm and increase the chances of a healthy baby.  Women who quit smoking not only increase their changes of achieving a pregnancy, but also significantly reduce the risk of their baby being born prematurely and/or underweight.

It should be noted that second hand smoke has the same effect on fertility as smoking.

Before you plan your fertility journey, consider some lifestyle changes that will benefit your fertility and wellbeing.

About the author

EmbryoClinic is a state-of-the-art fertility clinic located in Thessaloniki, Greece. The IVF unit boasts highly experienced staff who use the latest technology in a purpose-built assisted reproduction clinic. The staff at EmbryoClinic aim to provide a comfortable environment whilst guaranteeing patients that they will receive the best treatment.

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