Fertility and Smoking
Sheeva Talebian, M.D., the fertility specialist in New York City and co-founder of Truly-MD.com, an advice site about reproductive health.
When I was younger, I smoked cigarettes and weed. I haven’t touched either in five years, but did I do lasting damage to my fertility?
The bad news: You may have. Women who are current cigarette smokers take longer to get pregnant, have increased pregnancy complications, and have lower pregnancy rates after fertility treatments. These same findings are noted—but to a lesser degree—in past smokers. A history of smoking does inflict other damage; for example, smoking accelerates the rate of egg loss.
The data with marijuana is less clear. As recreational use becomes more prevalent and legal in various states, we will learn more about how it affects female fertility. I think it’s very likely we’ll find a negative impact similar to tobacco use. Smoking marijuana exposes you to some of the toxins found in tobacco; vaping and consuming edibles may let you bypass this form of toxic exposure, but it’s still unclear if there are other repercussions from using those formulations. Overall, unfortunately, our reproductive organs are exposed to everything we have ingested and inhaled, and we can’t totally erase the consequences of consistent tobacco and marijuana use.
But here’s the good news! By stopping when you did, you prevented years of further damage. And if you were a sporadic smoker, take note: Infrequent smoking has only a nominal effect, so if you smoked a few cigarettes or inhaled a couple of joints in your younger years, don’t worry. In any case, if you’re having trouble conceiving, see a fertility specialist who can assess your situation and prescribe treatments to help.
HALF PAST NEVER
Who says you have to tell him at all? Whether he figures it out at first sight or while fooling around, it’s on him to bring it up if it’s an issue. But it’s certainly not your job to warn him in advance.
Dean Stattmann, MH brand editor
WHEN IT’S SERIOUS
He might already know just from looking. Either way, if you two aren’t serious, no need to say a thing. But if you decide you’re legit, divulge. There’s nothing to be ashamed of or apologetic about.
Paul Kita, MH senior editor
Tell him over drinks or coffee, through a text, in bed. It’s not a big deal and he shouldn’t judge you. And if he’s got a problem with it, he’s not worth your time.
Michael Sneeden, MH and WH senior video producer