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Posted on 2011-11-28

Smoking and Infertility Treatments

Jo and Cigar
Creative Commons License photo credit: katielips

Cigarettes already come with warning labels that say, essentially, “These little buggers will kill you.” And we all know that you should never smoke while pregnant. But what about smoking before you’re pregnant?

If you keep smoking, you’re less likely to ever find out. Studies show that you reduce your fertility by smoking. Same thing is true if your other half smokes. When a man smokes, it affects the quality of his sperm. When a woman smokes, it affects her ability to conceive by:

  • Causing the ovaries to be harder to stimulate.
  • Causing more cycles to be canceled.
  • Affecting implantation rates.
  • Increasing the chance of failed fertilization cycles.

Smoking during Fertility Treatments Can Affect Your Baby if You Do Conceive

If you’re undergoing fertility treatments, smoking can lower your chances of success. On top of that, smoking during fertility treatments can have consequences if you do conceive, namely:

  • Nearly double the chance of having a baby with low birth weight.
  • In the case of moms having twins or multiples, six times the chances of having babies with very low birth weight.
  • Significantly higher rates of miscarriage.
  • Significantly higher chance of birth defects.

All women who are trying to conceive should stop smoking. It’s even more important while undergoing fertility treatments, due to the increased possibility of multiples.

Stopping Smoking Benefits at All Stages of Fertility Treatments

Ideally, you should stop smoking three months or more before attempting to become pregnant or undergoing fertility treatments. But quitting is beneficial at any stage. Whether you are starting fertility treatments or are already pregnant, kicking the habit is good for you and your baby.

Coping with infertility can be stressful. So can undergoing fertility treatment. The added stress and pressure we place on ourselves to have a baby can make it tougher to quit smoking. After all, most of us smoke to relax and de-stress.

If you’ve had difficulty quitting, get help. Your doctor can recommend programs appropriate for you. Additionally, there are many over the counter smoking cessation programs available. If you’re currently undergoing fertility treatments, check with your doctor or fertility clinic regarding the effects of any given program on your chances of conception.

Have you struggled to quit smoking? What advice can you share with women who want to conceive but are having a tough time quitting?