Does early exposure to maternal smoking affect future fertility in adult males?

Reprod Toxicol. 1992;6(4):297-307. doi: 10.1016/0890-6238(92)90192-v.


Animal data suggest that prenatal exposure to certain tobacco smoke components such as nicotine may affect the development of the male gonadal axis, which may in turn affect future adult fertility. There are no previous epidemiologic studies on the potential effects of early (prenatal and childhood) exposure to maternal smoking on the reproductive system in adult male offspring. To investigate this question, we used data from a follow-up study of reproductive function and fertility among young adult sons of mothers who had participated in a randomized clinical trial of diethylstilbestrol use during pregnancy. We observed no significant effects of early exposure to maternal smoking on conventional semen characteristics, hormone levels (follicle stimulating hormone [FSH], luteinizing hormone [LH] and testosterone), urogenital abnormalities and diseases, or perceived infertility problems. Current active smoking by the men was, however, associated with a significant decrease in the percentage of sperm with normal morphology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / chemically induced
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Male Urogenital Diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Semen / chemistry
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Urogenital Abnormalities


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone