How does smoking lead to infertility?
When people advise smokers to quit, the focus is usually on the effect smoke has on the lungs. However, this is not the only organ affected by smoking. It has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, many types of cancer, and emphysema. Thats not all, it can also have a very detrimental effect on male and female fertility.
Smoking and Female Infertility
Smoking causes infertility directly and indirectly. According to many studies, the number of cigarettes smoked per day plays an important role in determining how difficult it will be for the couple to conceive.
Exposure to passive smoking can also affect a womans fertility. Smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day can significantly damage the eggs as they develop in the ovaries. This can increase a womans risk of a miscarriage.
The effects of smoking can impact a womans fertility even years after she had quit. Each woman is born with a limited number of eggs. The eggs are damaged by smoking and this causes the ovaries to age prematurely shortening the biological clock
Women who smoke are likely at increased risks of developing:
- Ectopic pregnancies
- Tubal infertility
- Increased risk of cervical cancer
Smoking while pregnant may also harm the growing foetus and increase the risk of birth defects. This includes cardiovascular defects, missing fingers and toes, limb defects, cleft pallet, facial and skull deformations, gastrointestinal defects, and undescended testes.