5 Facts About Smoking and Infertility
If you are a smoker and are trying to get pregnant, stop smoking now. Quitting may be one of the best things you can do for your health and for your fertility.
Fact 1: Cigarette smoking can cause infertility.
Smokers are more likely to have fertility problems than nonsmokers. If you smoke for many years, or smoke many cigarettes per day, your risk for fertility problems is increased.
When you smoke, more than 7000 chemicals spread throughout your entire body and all of your organs. This can lead to fertility problems, including the following:
- Ovulation problems
- Genetic issues
- Damage to your reproductive organs
- Damage to your eggs or premature menopause.
- Increased risk of cancer and increased risk of miscarriage
In addition, smokers that try fertility treatments tend to take longer to get pregnant. Smokers are also more likely to give birth to babies with health problems.
Fact 2: Secondhand smoke can affect your fertility.
If you live with a smoker, encourage your loved one to stop. Secondhand smoke exposes you to poisonous chemicals, affecting your fertility. In fact, fertility experts say that secondhand smoke is almost as damaging to your fertility as if you were smoking yourself! Exposure to cigarette smoke for even just a few days can affect your health and your fertility.
Secondhand smoke is also a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If you do become pregnant, you and your partner must stop smoking to protect the health of your baby.
Fact 3: Smoking increases the chance of miscarriage
The pain of miscarriage can be devastating. Due to the toxins from cigarettes, smokers are more likely to suffer from miscarriage than nonsmokers. In addition, smoking increases several health risks during pregnancy, such as preterm labor and ectopic pregnancy.
Despite these warnings, millions of women of childbearing age still continue to smoke. By doing so, they risk their own health and the health of their babies.
Fact 4: Smoking causes fertility problems for men.
Men that smoke cigarettes are at an increased risk for the following male fertility problems:
- Lower sperm count and sperm motility problems (motility is the ability of sperm to swim towards and penetrate the egg)
- Hormonal issues
- Erectile dysfunction - trouble getting or maintaining an erection
If you are trying to get pregnant without success and your partner smokes, encourage him to quit. The sooner he quits, the sooner you may be able to conceive.
Fact 5: Stop smoking to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Fertility often improves for women after they stop smoking. Studies show that female smokers can increase their chances of conceiving by quitting at least two months before trying to get pregnant. Quit smoking and you may just find it easier to get pregnant.
The CDC and other health groups offer very helpful tips to help you quit this unhealthy habit. Make an appointment with your doctor today and find out how to kick the habit for good.Sources
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Smoking and infertility
- American Council on Science and Health: Cigarette Smoking and Sexual Health
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: What am I doing that can cause infertility?
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Damages Eggs, Impairs Embryo Development.
- CDC: "Smoking and Tobacco Use."