New study shows smoking lessens chances of IVF success

July 03, 2001

Lausanne, Switzerland: Smoking lessens the chance of successful IVF treatment and women should be actively encouraged to quit before undergoing IVF, delegates at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology were told today. (Tuesday 3 July)

New research by a team from the Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal in Sèvres, France, has found that women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day had only a 15% chance of their embryo implanting in the uterus compared with a success rate of nearly 23% for non-smokers. Even smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes a day reduced the implantation rate to just over 20% although this difference between light smokers and non-smokers was not statistically significant.

In a study of 1,186 women undergoing IVF, 206 (17.4%) reported smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day and 138 women (11.6%) smoked under 10. The rest (71%) were non-smokers. The three groups were similar in all other respects.

Dr Joëlle Belaisch-Allart said that the implantation rate per embryo transferred was 22.7% for the non-smokers and 15.1% for women smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day.

"These data should lead us actively to discourage smoking among women before IVF treatment. The explanation may be that smoking causes vascular problems, which inhibit the embryo from implanting in the wall of the uterus," she said.

"We haven't so far refused treatment to smokers, but we do inform them at the monthly information meeting that if they smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, for every egg that is retrieved they lessen their chance of pregnancy by seven per cent."
Abstract no: O-138

Further information:

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European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

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