Smoking & Fertility

Smoking is a harmful and dangerous factor when trying to become pregnant.  You have a lower chance of conceiving if either partner smokes, and a higher chance of miscarriage. Secondhand smoke can also influence your chances of conceiving and decreases ovarian reserve. It is crucial that both parents stop smoking before exploring any fertility treatments. 

Smoking and fertility problems
Smoking and infertility go hand in hand. In fact, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you stop smoking to protect your fertility and your health.

Smoking can increase many fertility problems for women, including:

  • Affecting your eggs and causing ovulation problems
  • Damaging your cervix and fallopian tubes
  • Increasing risks for miscarriage and other problems during pregnancy and at birth

Men and women hoping to become parents must make serious efforts to stop smoking in order to get pregnant and have healthy babies.

Smoking and fertility treatments
Planning to try intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF)? If so, make an effort to stop smoking today. Smoking may affect your success rates when undergoing these fertility treatments.

Studies show that smokers are less likely to get pregnant with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures like IVF. While ART does work for some women that smoke, smokers are more likely to miscarry after ART than their nonsmoking peers. In fact, smokers are more likely to miscarry than other women, whether they use ART or not. Overall, smokers tend to take twice as long to get pregnant with ART than nonsmokers. The take home message: Avoid smoking when trying to get pregnant with IVF and other fertility treatments.

Smoking and fertility drugs
You may know that your hormones must work in harmony to make a baby. Yet chemicals in cigarettes upset your natural hormonal balance, making it harder to get pregnant.

As a result, smokers may be more likely to need fertility drugs like Clomid and other ovulation-inducing medications to help them conceive. And, smokers often end up needing more medication than their nonsmoking peers, which can be expensive and a burden.

Dangers of secondhand smoke
What if you don’t smoke, but your partner does? If you live with a smoker, your fertility could be at risk. Secondhand smoke affects your health and the health of your unborn baby. When trying to get pregnant, avoid being near friends and relatives when they smoke.

Smoking decreases fertility
While smoking and infertility-related problems are often reversible, some women do have permanent reproductive health damage after years of smoking.

What You Can Do:

Tip 1: Seek professional help if necessary.
If you have tried to stop smoking, and failed, it is time to call in the professionals. Ask your doctor for recommendations for smoking cessation products and programs that might work for you. (If you are trying to get pregnant, get your doctor’s permission before using any smoking cessation products).

Tip 2: Set goals for yourself.
Your first goal may be to not smoke while you are trying to conceive. When you become pregnant, commit to avoiding smoking (and smokers) during pregnancy. Once your baby is born, you will probably be over the worst of any difficult withdrawal symptoms. After your baby is born, keep him or her away from cigarette smoke and strive to never smoke again.

Tip 3: Avoid secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke can affect your fertility and affect your baby’s health. Sadly, babies that live with smokers have higher rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than babies that live with nonsmokers.

If you still smoke, or live with a smoker, it is never too late to make a change to improve your health. The bottom line? Quit smoking and reduce your exposure to cigarette smoke. If you do, it might help you get pregnant faster and bring home a baby.