Recreational drug use and the risk of primary infertility

Epidemiology. 1990 May;1(3):195-200. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199005000-00003.


Recreational drug (marijuana, lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD, speed, cocaine, and "other") exposures of women with primary infertility were compared with those of a matched control group of women with proven fertility. Women who reported smoking marijuana had a slightly elevated risk for infertility due to an ovulatory abnormality (RR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.0 to 3.0). The risk was greatest among women who had used marijuana within one year of trying to become pregnant (RR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.1 to 4.0). No consistent frequency or duration of use effects could be demonstrated, and the risk was confined to low-frequency users. Risks associated with the use of other drugs were not elevated. The risk of infertility from a tubal abnormality associated with cocaine use was greatly increased (RR = 11.1, 95% CI = 1.7 to 70.8). Our results are consistent with animal studies suggesting that smoking marijuana may cause a transient disruption of ovulatory function. The possibility that cocaine exposure influences the development of tubal infertility needs further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Cocaine
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Fallopian Tube Diseases / chemically induced
  • Fallopian Tube Diseases / complications
  • Fallopian Tube Diseases / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Infertility, Female / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications
  • Ovulation / drug effects
  • Ovulation / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Time Factors


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Cocaine