It's Just One Cigarette, Right?
There are many reasons that a woman might be infertile. Most of these are not conditions that she could have avoided, or behaviors that she can change. They are issues that are out of her control and that need to be identified and helped to resolve. One issue, however, that is in the woman's hands is smoking. Smoking causes infertility in many ways and can lead to difficulties with conceiving, with carrying the baby to term and with delivering a healthy baby.
Nicotine and Fertility
One study, done through the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, found that nicotine in mice has a negative effect on the maturation of the eggs, on the rate of ovulation and on fertility. In addition, for the mice that were able to conceive, the use of nicotine showed more abnormalities in their eggs than in the eggs of those who weren't exposed to nicotine.
A large study done in England showed that smokers were two times as likely to be childless five years after they stopped using conception and tried to conceive than were non smoking couples. Most research shows that women who smoke usually take two months longer to conceive than do nonsmokers. The British Medical Association found that active smoking isn't the only culprit. They showed that both smoking and passive smoke resulted in 5000 miscarriages every year and were the cause of 120,000 cases of male infertility for men who ranged in age from 30-50.
IVF and Smoking
If you remain infertile and decide to turn to IVF, it's very important to know what the consequences may be if you smoke. IVF is certainly very costly and invasive, and you want to have the best chance of conceiving with it. Smokers have been documented to have less egg retrieval rates with IVF, less fertilization rates for the eggs, and more miscarriages. One study found that women who didn't smoke were 2.7 times more likely to get pregnant with IVF than women who had once smoked, or who now smoke. If the woman smoked for more than five years, this rate actually went up to 4.8.
Men, IVF and Smoking
Studies have also shown that the woman isn't the only one creating a problem for the IVF treatments. Men who smoke can also make it less likely to have a successful IVF treatment. Researchers aren't sure if this is because of the sperm damage, or the reaction that the smoking might have on the egg and the embryo. They have shown, however, that smoking makes the efficacy of IVF less - even if it's the man who is smoking.
Certainly, you can't control most things in the fertility process. This is one that you can control! If you are trying to become pregnant, you'll want to make as many lifestyle changes as possible to make your fertility chances better. Giving up smoking is something that you can do for yourself, your body, and your chances of fertility.