Maternal tobacco use and its preimplantation effects on fertility: more reasons to stop smoking

Semin Reprod Med. 2008 Mar;26(2):204-12. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1042959.


There are numerous health concerns regarding tobacco smoke. Yet, only recently have researchers extensively explored the association between tobacco smoke and a woman's inability to conceive. Whether exposure occurs in utero, during pregnancy, or throughout the reproductive years, it can affect all facets of fertility and lead to diminished ovarian function and earlier menopause. This review analyzes the literature concerning the delay or absence of conception in some women exposed to cigarette smoke and provides a detailed examination of the potential reproductive targets of the mutagenic and toxic components of tobacco. A negative influence on ovarian steroidogenesis and gametogenesis, oocyte maturity, ovulation, oocyte cumulus complex pick-up, gamete and embryo transport by the oviduct, fertilization, and implantation could all play a role. Assisted reproductive technology, or more specifically, in vitro fertilization, has allowed us to more thoroughly analyze successful pregnancy cycles and the negative consequences of smoking. Objective measurements of tobacco compounds and their metabolites in follicular fluid correlate with subjective measures of ovarian, gamete, and embryo quality in smokers and in those exposed to passive smoke. Regardless, there is an abundance of literature accumulating and more than enough reasons to tell patients to stop smoking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Blastocyst* / drug effects
  • Embryo Implantation / physiology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Fertilization / physiology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology
  • Oogenesis / physiology
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / physiopathology
  • Uterus / physiology