If you are planning on having a baby, it is important to know that smoking impacts fertility in both men and women. The connection between the two is very compelling across the sexes. The rates of infertility for both men and women are about twice the rate found in nonsmokers. The rate for fertility issues increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.
Research has found that women who smoke do not conceive as easily as non-smoking women. For women, the chemicals in cigarette smoke impact the entire body. It can lead to ovulation problems, genetic issues, damage to reproductive organs, and increased risk of cancer or miscarriage. Most importantly, it can increase the loss rate of eggs. Since women are born with the total number of eggs for their lifetime, once these eggs die off, they are not replaced. It also causes these women to enter menopause 1 to 4 years earlier than non-smokers.
Men who smoke can experience numerous fertility problems. They can have a decrease in sperm quality and motility, hormonal issues and erectile dysfunction. Smoking also lowers the success of the sperm in fertilizing the egg. If your partner smokes and you are attempting to become pregnant, encouraging him to quit may be the best fertility booster around.
Fertility also improves after women stop smoking. Research has shown that a woman’s conception chances can improve by quitting two months before trying to become pregnant. Secondhand smoke also impacts your fertility. The poisonous chemicals in the smoke affects your fertility almost as much as smoking it directly. Research also has shown that once pregnant, smoking is one of the single largest causes of complications including pre-term labor and ectopic pregnancies.
While it is important to consider many factors to maximize your fertility, the most powerful lifestyle choice you can make today is to stop smoking.