In the 1920s it was thought that ‘normal’ fertility for couples was 100%, which is sort of odd considering there really wasn’t effective birth control and clearly not every sexual event ended in a pregnancy!
Whether it is labeled ‘normal’ or ‘common’ we now know that infertility is actually present in about 10% of couples. and there are some simple fixes that can help couples conceive in a timely manner. Quitting smoking, both of you, is important.
1. Smoking is the least recognized contribution to infertility. Smokers have at least double the rate of infertility based on getting pregnant within one year. About 1/3 of the population smokes.
2. Recent studies of infertility shows that even passive smoking affects your ability to get pregnant.
3. Smoke literally will cause you to have fewer fertile eggs. We have known for a long time that smokers go through an earlier menopause due to earlier depletion of all their viable eggs. This translates in to a 1-4 year earlier menopause. But we now know that baseline FSH (follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary that elevates permanently.
4. Smokers who haven’t quit will actually have hormone issues that affect ovulation. In menopausal women) rates creep up on smokers years before this and in fact the impact on ovulation and thus fertility sets in much earlier. No one has quite worked out if this is due to nicotine or the other products in cigarettes, but it is thought to be the other factors, so perhaps vaping wouldn’t cause as much effect.
5. The mechanism of how smoking affects male fertility has not yet been worked out. Sperm counts and parameters in the semen analysis are worse, but no studies actually have proven male infertility due to smoking. But for those with borderline counts, the evidence seems clear enough to at least stop smoking while trying to conceive. Studies of individual genes within sperm have also shown that smoking can cause individual gene damage in sperm.
6. After conception smoking can still harm the early pregnancy. Once a woman is pregnant, smoking increases the chance of early miscarriage. And smokers have 20 times the risk of having a tubal pregnancy than non-smokers. For more information see the 2013 committee opinion of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine on the subject.