Male smokers can affect pregnancy chances, says CU study

May 22, 2015

Smoking by both members of a couple sharply reduces their chances of having a successful live birth after fertility treatment, according to a new University of Colorado study released this week.

Dr. Alex Polotsky, who lead the study, said researchers have studied the impact of smoking on female fertility for some time, but this marks a first for the impact of male smoking.

“In terms of smoking, this is the first time that we can actually say [to men] that if you quit smoking you should improve your chances to conceive,” he said. 

One possible explanation for that is that the combination of both partners smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke hurt ovulation, conception and live birth, says Polotsky.

The study analyzed data from a clinical trial done by the National Institutes of Health, which recruited 750 infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that makes it harder for them to get pregnant.

Researchers examined a variety of factors that impact fertility. They found couples in which both women and men smoked had a nearly 80 percent decrease in their chances of conceiving after a fertility treatment.