You already know that you shouldn’t be smoking yourself if you’re trying to get pregnant. But new research shows that if you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), even exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke can lower your odds of success. Scientists reporting in a medical journal, Human Reproduction, looked at data from over 3,000 IVF cycles from nearly 2,000 non-smoking women to see if there was any connection between the women’s exposure to tobacco smoke and the success or failure of embryo implantation in a round of IVF. The researchers cited data that about 88 million non-smokers (ages 3 and over) in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke, and that the smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals; more than 60 of those are known or believed to cause cancer or affect reproductive health. Many women, though, don’t realize they are being exposed.
What did the researchers find when they looked at success rates for IVF and secondhand smoke? “We observed a significant increase in the risk of failed implantation among women exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke,” the scientists wrote, and the finding applied whether it was a woman’s first IVF cycle or a subsequent one. They also noted a connection between secondhand smoke and the odds of a live baby when they measured each women’s first cycle.
Whether you’re doing a round of IVF or not, it’s worth becoming aware of smoke around you – and avoiding it whenever you can. Other research indicates secondhand smoke may have an adverse effect on early pregnancy, too.
Do you live with a smoker or see friends, family or coworkers who smoke? How do you avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke?