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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF
Smoking and fertility Smoking and fertility

Smoking and fertility

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Smoking affects fertility

Smoking is injurious to health, and this is not a myth but a fact that people tend to ignore. The best decision a person can make is to quit smoking at all costs. It harms not only the mother but also the baby. Quitting smoking can act as one of the best natural ways to boost fertility. Women who stop smoking at least three months prior to trying to get pregnant increase their chances of getting pregnant. 

Main key points:

  • Smoking results as one of the biggest risk factors of infertility in both men and women, and it can lead to fertility problems and may take longer to conceive than couples who are non-smokers
  • The ingredients of cigarettes can damage eggs and sperm and therefore affect the health of the baby

Fertility problems due to smoking

  • Cigarette smoking may alter DNA in eggs and sperm, and genetic material may pass to the fetus
  • Affects the production of male and female hormones 
  • Smoking may affect the environment inside the uterus
  • Potential of the fertilised egg to reach the womb

Parenthood begins long before trying for a baby

There is no safe limit to smoking, be it active or passive, both forms are harmful to the mother and the fetus, and the only way to protect both (baby and the mother) is to quit it right away.

Therefore, it is essential to know how smoking affects males and females.

How does smoking affect fertility in females

  • There are high chances of miscarriage in women who smoke
  • Can impact the development of the baby
  • Increases risk of ectopic pregnancy

Effect of smoking on male fertility

  • The problem of erectile dysfunction(ED)
  • Smoke can damage the DNA in sperm
  • Produced sperm is healthy and viable (Important to quit smoking 3 months before trying for a baby)
  • Chain-smoking ( more than 20 cigarettes a day) by males around the time of trying may increase the baby’s risk to get affected by leukaemia 

Benefits of quitting smoking over time

  • Quitting smoking may increase the chances of getting pregnant 
  • It takes approximately 3 months for sperm to mature, making the sperm healthier over time
  • Chances of fertilising an egg increases
  • Can improve chances of natural conception 
  • Stopping smoking for a year can reverse the effects of smoking
  • Minimise the baby’s chance of being born prematurely 


What challenges do a couple face with quitting smoking while coping with infertility?

Infertility can be traumatising and stressful for couples, which may lead to smoking. So, it is necessary to find ways to cope with stress and ask for help as and when needed.

How long does it take for a couple’s reproductive health to improve if they quit smoking?

There isn’t any correct date or time to define the improvement in reproductive health. But it may start to show a positive impact within weeks or months of quitting. The sooner, the better.

Is passive smoking more harmful than active smoking?

Second-hand smoking may increase the risk of miscarriages in women, can reduce a baby’s birth weight and increase the risk of respiratory illness in children. There are higher risks of lung cancer and heart diseases.

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