Paternal Smoking is Associated With Miscarriage and Birth Defects
In women who smoke, the adverse effects on fertility and pregnancy have been well-documented. We are still learning about the reproductive impact of male partners who smoke, however. Many insurance companies now require that both partners quit smoking before fertility treatment can begin. Studies have found paternal smoking is associated with miscarriage and birth defects.
A recent meta-analysis found that paternal smoking of greater than 10 cigarettes per day in the preconception period was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. A separate meta-analysis found that paternal smoking was also associated with an increased risk of birth defects, specifically cardiac defects, and orofacial defects. These findings highlight the importance of smoking cessation for men and women prior to pregnancy.
Women Who Smoke Take Longer to Conceive
There are cost-effective reasons for insurance companies to deny fertility coverage to people who smoke or other nicotine containing products. To begin with, women who smoke take longer to conceive than women who do not smoke. One study found that tobacco consumption affects uterine receptivity (embryo implantation) and even comparatively low levels of nicotine can have a significant impact on a woman’s fertility. The success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be reduced by as much as 50% compared to women having IVF who have never smoked.
Cigarette Smoking and Male Fertility
Cigarette smoking negatively affects male fertility starting in utero. Men whose mother smoked during pregnancy are at risk of having smaller testes, lower mean sperm concentration, and lower sperm counts. Men who smoke have lower sperm counts, lower sperm motility, and more morphologically abnormal sperm than men who do not smoke. Even light smoking is associated with reduced male fertility.
At Fertility Centers of New England, patients come to us because they are struggling with infertility and/or miscarriages. We are proud to have helped thousands of patients realize their dream of becoming parents. If you have more questions on how paternal smoking is associated with miscarriage and birth defects or your fertility, please contact us today for a free consultation.
*Your consultation is FREE if you don’t have infertility insurance coverage.