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Smoking And Infertility


Dear Dr. Ramirez,

I'm 18 and I just started smoking, but I'm afraid it will effect my ability to have children. I know smoking can cause cancers, but in females, does smoking cause permanent infertility? A friend of mine told me it just causes temporary infertility, and since I'm 18 and no where near ready for a baby, I wasn't too worried. But I do want to have children when I'm older. Could you please help give me advice on this? A. from Georgia


Hello A. from the U.S. (Georgia),

Smoking does not cause permanent infertility but has been shown to affect fertility i.e. reduce the chances. More importantly, it can cause other permanent diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, throat cancer, stroke and deep venous thrombosis. Smoking at the time of pregnancy can lead to poor fetal development, poor fetal outcomes and other complications.

Because smoking reduces the blood vessel diameter (vascularity), it affects the chances of pregnancy by reducing blood flow to the implantation site, developing empyo and placental flow. There is also an increased risk of miscarriage.

I hope that gives you enough reason to stop while it is still easy to do so. Keep in mind that smoking is a ADDICTION and gets harder and harder to stop with time.

Good Luck,

Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG

Executive Medical Director

The Fertility and Gynecology Center

Monterey Bay IVF Program

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