SMOKING AND INFERTILITY

Research has shown that cigarette smoking may not only increase the rate of miscarriage, but may also impede conception. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), cigarette smoking has an adverse effect on the ovaries. As reported in ASRM's Fact Sheet on Smoking (8/2001), "components in cigarette smoke such as nicotine and the heavy metal cadmium have been shown to interfere with the ability of cells in the ovary to make estrogen, and to cause a woman's eggs to be more prone to genetic abnormalities." Smoking may also hasten the depletion of eggs and contribute to earlier menopause.

ASRM estimates that smoking is responsible for up to 13% of female infertility according to a study from Great Britain reported to the American Lung Association. ASRM also reports that "in couples undergoing IVF, female smoking has been associated with a decreased number of eggs available for fertilization, decreased pregnancy and delivery rates, and markedly increased miscarriage rates."

Chances for pregnancy success may improve if the patient stops smoking prior to treatment. Many of the relaxation techniques described on the Fertility: The Mind/Body Connection website may also be helpful to patients as they quit smoking.

For further information log onto the patient education pages at www.asrm.org or go to www.lungusa.org.