About Fertility

Does Smoking or Vaping Cause Infertility?

A photo of a person pulling a cigarette out of a pack.

Smoking, and now vaping, are well-known to cause a plethora of health problems. But could smoking and vaping also be causing infertility? It’s a question many couples struggling to conceive are asking, and the answer is again a resounding yes.

Does Smoking Cause Infertility?

Smoking has a negative effect on both male and female fertility. In men, tobacco products have been linked to:

  • decreased sperm count
  • abnormal sperm shape
  • decreased sperm motility
  • even DNA damage

Because smoking can affect sperm health, it’s recommended that people quit smoking at least three months prior to trying to conceive.

In women, the effects are just as damaging. Smoking can lead to a decreased ovarian reserve, which means fewer eggs available for harvesting and fertilization.

Not only does research show that women who smoke may struggle to conceive, but they’re less likely to become pregnant at all.

Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious issues for both mother and child, including:

  • premature birth
  • low oxygen (which leads to underdevelopment)
  • low birth weight
  • stillbirth
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • tissue damage (particularly lung and brain)
  • cleft lip

Another seldom discussed aspect of fertility and smoking is secondhand smoke. Most of the time, secondhand smoke is brought up as something to keep away from newborn babies, but the danger actually begins before conception. In fact, it can be almost as damaging to a fetus as the mother smoking.

If you’re thinking about starting a family, it’s best to stop smoking before trying to conceive—preferably as soon as possible.

Does Vaping Cause Infertility?

Though vaping has been touted as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, it contains many of the same toxins and research indicates that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

Studies have already shown that vaping has a negative impact on reproductive health. Vaping can lead to reduced sperm count in men and decreased ovarian reserve in women.

Vaping can also cause inflammation of the uterus lining in women, making it more difficult for implantation to occur.

The evidence that vaping causes inflammation in the uterine lining is particularly concerning for couples looking to conceive naturally or through assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Finally, chemicals found in vape juice may increase the risk of infertility due to their hormone-disrupting effects.

Your Best Option is to Quit Prior to Trying to Get Pregnant

You’ve heard it before. In general, smoking and vaping aren’t good for anyone, but those who are trying to conceive have even more cause for concern. If you are planning on starting a family, it’s best to quit before trying to get pregnant in order to give yourself the best chance of success.

A healthy baby starts with healthy sperm and eggs. The good news is that the effects of smoking on eggs and sperm and fertility can be reversible. Regardless of which partner (or both) smokes, quitting will increase the chance of conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to a healthy baby.

For men, the effects are very quick, as it takes three months for sperm to mature. Therefore, as soon as he quits smoking, his new sperm will be healthier than old ones, laying a stronger foundation for a fertilized egg.

For women, the effects of smoking take a bit longer to realize—about one year. However, quitting smoking at any point prior to conception (or even within the first trimester) can reduce the risk of premature birth to similar levels than that of non-smokers.

While it’s ideal to quit smoking prior to conception, it’s not too late to quit once you’re pregnant. Be sure to discuss smoking cessation with your doctor to decrease potential risks.

Contact Us

Helping you build the family of your dreams is our number one priority. If you’re ready to book an initial consultation, we’d be honored to help talk to you further about how your journey may look. But to start, let’s not allow smoking or vaping to get in the way of those dreams.

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