Trying to Conceive: Can Smoking Affect Female Fertility?

I have been infertile for 23 months. I have read in journals that cigarette smoking may reduce my chances of a successful pregnancy. Do I really have to stop?


A substantial body of literature suggests that smoking reduces a couples chances of successful pregnancy, not to mention the adverse health effects on children. A large British study demonstrated double the risk of childlessness five years after discontinuing contraceptives in smoking couples compared to nonsmoking couples.

It is hypothesized that smoking reduces the number of oocytes (eggs) in the ovary as women who smoke enter menopause earlier than nonsmokers. Nicotine has been shown to reduce ovulation and oocyte fertilization in animal models. Smoking also impairs the normal function of the fallopian tubes, alters the normal physiological levels of reproductive hormones, reduces embryo implantation, and increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease by altering immune function. If a pregnancy is achieved the rate of ectopic pregnancy doubles as well as many other pregnancy complications including miscarriage and preterm labor. Babies born to smoking women have numerous developmental problems, high rates of respiratory disease, and an increased incidence of sudden infant death syndrome.

Smoking reduces fertility and leads to a host of smoking-related pregnancy complications.

For additional information:

NIH: The Top 10 Reasons to Quit Smoking

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