Smoking and fertility: does smoking affect fertility?

5 min
Updated Oct 31st, 2023

Table of contents

The health impact of smoking has been a public health concern for many decades. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the body, but we tend to predominately think about the lungs – the impact on smoker’s lungs is  usually the focus of the NHS quit smoking campaigns.

But smoking can also affect fertility in numerous ways. Couples who smoke can find that it’s more difficult to get pregnant – for both men and women. Men who smoke can experience impotence where the smoking damages blood vessels in the penis. Smoking also decreases sperm count and damages the sperm quality. Erectile dysfunction and pregnancy complication rates are increased with smoking. 

It’s not just smoking while trying to conceive that can be destructive. Smoking while pregnant can also add a number of risks for the baby, including:

  • Pregnancy loss
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Infant illnesses

How does smoking affect female fertility and eggs?

Smoking directly impacts your fertility and the quality of the eggs you produce. In fact, menopause begins one to four years earlier for women that smoke, compared to women who don’t. This is because the chemicals in cigarette smoke speed up the loss rate of eggs, and once the eggs have died, they can’t be replaced.

How does smoking affect male fertility and sperm?

Ultimately, smoking decreases the sperm’s ability to fertilise an egg. Men who smoke are more likely to have lower sperm counts and poorer sperm quality and motility. They’ll also be more likely to have increased numbers of abnormally shaped sperm. Smoking can also lead to difficulties getting or maintaining an erection, known as impotence. 

How can smoking impact my ability to conceive?

Compared to non-smokers, women smokers are not as likely to conceive and so it takes them longer to get pregnant. Most couples who are trying for a baby will get pregnant within a year, but smokers cut that chance in half each month.

Smoking also impacts fertility treatments such as IVF. A woman who smokes is less likely to become pregnant and give birth via IVF than a non-smoker. This is because women who smoke have fewer eggs for retrieval.

Smoking damages the genetic material in sperm and eggs, which can lead to problems like miscarriage and birth defects.

Does second-hand smoking affect fertility?

Second-hand smoking, also known as passive smoking, can also affect your chances of conceiving. When you smoke a cigarette, most of the smoke doesn’t go into your lungs but instead into the air around you. So if you don’t smoke but your partner does, your fertility could still be impacted.

Can smoking continue to affect my baby?

The ramifications of smoking on the future health of your child are being discovered all the time.

  • A smoker’s child is also at a higher risk of developing asthma or suffering sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 
  • Babies born with a low birth weight are at a high risk of certain medical problems in the future (such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes).
  • An epidemiological study found that men whose mothers smoked 10 cigarettes (or more) a day had lower sperm counts than men with non-smoking mothers.

Will my chances for conceiving improve if I stop smoking, or is it too late?

The loss of eggs can’t be reversed, but by stopping smoking you’ll be improving your fertility and helping increase the quality of your eggs. The longer you go without smoking, the lower the chances of any pregnancy complications. 

How long after quitting smoking will sperm quality improve?

The creation and development of new sperm takes between two to three months, so an improvement in quality can be noticed around two to three months after quitting smoking. The sooner you quit smoking, the sooner your sperm quality will improve.

How long after quitting smoking will fertility increase?

If you stop smoking, you’ll benefit from better quality eggs. Since eggs take 90 days to be produced, the benefits will first be detected after about three months. 

The benefits of stopping smoking

The sooner you quit smoking, the better. Alongside the benefits to your fertility, you’ll also experience an improvement to your overall physical health. 

An NHS study shows that after just 48 hours of not smoking, all of the carbon monoxide will have been flushed out of your body. And after a year, your risk of heart attack will have halved compared to those who smoke.

How to increase your chances of getting pregnant

Quitting smoking can make men’s sperm stronger and healthier, and improves the lining of the womb. Once you’ve stopped smoking, you’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of conceiving. 

Impryl will help you to reach your optimum fertility level. There are so many pregnancy success stories for Impryl — a fertility supplement with a number of differences. 

Impryl doesn’t just focus on one ingredient, unlike other supplements, and it doesn’t contain the strong antioxidants which can actually damage your egg/s and sperm! Instead, Impryl gives you the best chance of conceiving, whether naturally or via IVF, as it enables your body to maintain its metabolic balance. That’s why you’ll find that it’s recommended by so many fertility specialists.

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