Early exposure to smoking and future fecundity among Danish twins

Int J Androl. 2006 Dec;29(6):603-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2006.00701.x.


Several studies have examined the effect of in utero exposure to smoking and fecundity among the offspring but the findings are contradictory. We therefore studied the waiting time to first pregnancy (TTP) and exposure to smoking in utero and childhood among Danish twins born between 1931 and 1952. Information about TTP, exposure to mothers smoking in pregnancy, exposure to smoking in childhood and current smoking among the male twins and smoking in their own pregnancy among female twins was collected by interview. Fecundability odds ratio (FOR) estimating the odds of conception in a cycle among exposed compared to the unexposed were calculated separately for female and male twins. A total of 1653 female and 1598 male twins reported a TTP. Female twins, exposed in utero, had reduced fecundability after control for confounders (FOR = 0.81; 95% CI 0.67-0.99). A nonsignificant increase in fecundity among male twins exposed to smoking in utero was found (FOR = 1.12; 95% CI 0.89-1.40). Among dizygotic twins of opposite sex sharing the same in utero exposures, the future fecundity of the male twin was unaffected by in utero exposure (FOR = 0.97; 95% CI 0.60-1.55) whereas the female twin had reduced fecundity (FOR = 0.65; 95% CI 0.47-0.91). This study supports that smoking is hazardous to the female fetus not only in the short term but also affects her future ability to conceive and makes it even more important to advise pregnant women to stop smoking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution