Smoking reduces fertility because it

  • affects the functioning of the ovaries negatively
  • hampers the fallopian tubes
  • affects the mucous membrane in the uterus, making it harder for the egg to attach itself to the uterus wall.



Figure 1 shows the relation between smoking and delayed pregnancy – the risk of waiting more than 9 months to become pregnant when smoking the shown numbers of cigarettes on a daily basis. Subjects: 3187 European women trying to become pregnant.

Most important is the fact that quitting smoking helps. For women who have quit smoking, the chances of a fertilised egg attaching itself to the uterus wall are almost as good as women who have never smoked. The likelihood of a normal pregnancy and for the birth of a healthy baby also improves when the woman stops smoking.

Smoking by the man plays only a minor role in a couple’s fertility, unless infertility is due to the quality of the man’s sperm/semen. If the man and woman both stop smoking, they will have prepared a healthy environment for their future child. Passive smoking negatively affects a child’s chances of getting respiratory diseases, sudden infant death syndrome (crib death), inflammation of the middle ear, and allergies.

Our advice to couples planning a pregnancy: quit smoking!


Read more about Infertility and alcohol