The influence of cigarette smoking on a population of infertile men and women

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 Apr;287(4):813-8. doi: 10.1007/s00404-012-2643-5. Epub 2012 Nov 25.


Purpose: This study aimed at investigating the effect of cigarette smoking on semen parameters in infertile men and on antral follicle count (AFC) and reproductive hormone levels in infertile women.

Methods: In 648 men (200 smokers and 448 non-smokers) sperm concentration, motility and morphology were compared according to smoking status. In the female population, AFC and basal follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol were measured in 296 women (102 smokers and 194 non-smokers). Statistical analysis of data was performed using t test, χ²-test and Spearman's correlation.

Results: Among the male population, smokers had significantly lower sperm concentration and motility than non-smokers. Sperm normal morphology was reduced in smokers, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. No significant correlation was found between sperm parameters and the intensity of smoking. In the female population, AFC was reduced in smokers compared with non-smokers. Women who smoked had significantly higher FSH levels. No significant difference was found in LH and estradiol levels according to smoking status. The number of pack-years was negatively correlated to AFC and positively correlated to FSH levels.

Conclusion: Cigarette smoking is associated with damaging effects on sperm parameters in infertile men and with ovarian reserve alteration in infertile women, as reflected by reduced AFC and increased FSH levels. Every smoker should be encouraged to stop smoking to prevent the damage of the toxins contained in cigarette smoking and preserve their own reproductive potential.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / blood
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / pathology
  • Infertility, Male / blood
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Follicle / pathology*
  • Semen Analysis*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone