The last week in April has been designated National Infertility Awareness Week (IVF). The observance is meant to bring awareness to the millions of Americans who are facing challenges when becoming pregnant; while removing any stigmas and barriers that remain in the way of having a child using IVF.
Some causes of infertility in women are issues with ovulation (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, sexually transmitted infections and unhealthy body weight. However, there have been multiple studies to support the theory that smoking has an adverse effect on fertility. Research has found that the prevalence of infertility is higher, and the time it takes to conceive is longer in smokers as compared to nonsmokers. It has also been proven that smoking can affect every stage of the reproductive process in both sexes because the chemicals in cigarettes can cause damage to both male sperm and female eggs.
In women, smoking can lead to many fertility problems, including:
- Problems with the fallopian tubes, including blockages (preventing egg and sperm from meeting) and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Damage to the eggs as they develop in the ovaries.
- Increased risk of miscarriage, possibly due to damaged eggs, damage to the developing fetus, or unfavorable changes in the uterine lining, which may make healthy implantation of an embryo less likely.
In addition, smoking can cause a woman’s eggs to age prematurely, leading to an earlier onset of menopause and a shorter window to conceive.
The good news is that the damage done to the female reproductive system as a result of smoking is reversible. Typically, after quitting smoking, your chance of natural fertility should become viable within a year or less.
If you want to have a baby, but you are a smoker, quit now! If you need help, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers smoking cessation services to help you. For more information, please call 718-206-8494.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.