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Smoking and fertility

If you smoke, or if your partner smokes, it can affect your ability to conceive.

Smoking can affect both men's and women's fertility

It’s well known that smoking can cause cancer, heart disease and a range of other health problems. But many people who smoke may not realise that smoking can also affect both men’s and women’s fertility.

Each stage of the reproductive process is affected by smoking. Sperm and eggs can be harmed by toxins in tobacco smoke (such as cadmium and cotinine). Smoking can also damage DNA in eggs and sperm. 

Research shows that smoking harms fertility in women. This means that on average women who smoke take longer to become pregnant. They also have a higher risk of not becoming pregnant despite trying. 

Also, secondhand smoke (inhaling someone else’s smoke) can harm a woman's fertility. 

For couples trying to become pregnant by using medical treatments such as IVF, smoking by either partner reduces pregnancy success rates. 

Even if it's only your partner who smokes, it can reduce your chance of having a baby. 

Quitting smoking boosts fertility

Quitting smoking will give you immediate health benefits and it will increase your chance of conceiving. 

After you stop smoking your fertility may begin to improve.  

Given the risks for your baby regarding smoking and pregnancy, quitting also gives your child the best start. You’ll also have more energy to run around with your kids, there will be no risk of secondhand smoke and you’ll be a positive role model for your family.

Chat to your partner about quitting. Couples who quit together are more likely to be successful than if they try quitting alone. 

To discuss this further, call Quitline or request a Quitline callback. For more information on fertility, visit

Please note,this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.  

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Last updated March 2024

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