Female cigarette smoking and successful fertility treatment: a Danish cohort study

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INTRODUCTION: Despite smoking being a well-established risk factor for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes a substantial proportion of women of reproductive age smoke. Previously, meta-analyses have indicated a significantly negative impact of female smoking on outcomes of assisted reproduction, yet the majority of the included studies have several, essential methodological limitations. We aimed to investigate whether female cigarette smoking may affect the chance of achieving a clinical pregnancy and live birth among women and couples receiving medically assisted reproduction treatment.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cohort study with longitudinally and repeatedly collected exposure information from 1 January 2010 to 31 August 2015, including data on 1708 women and potential partners initiating either intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF)/ intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or frozen embryo transfer treatment cycles at the public Fertility Clinic, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Smoking was assessed from self-reported questionnaires completed before treatment. Outcomes were a clinical pregnancy and a live birth. Information on these was obtained from the Danish national health registries, allowing complete follow-up. To evaluate associations between female occasional/daily cigarette smoking and successful medically assisted reproduction treatments a modified Poisson regression with robust standard errors was used.

RESULTS: Female occasional/daily cigarette smoking was not associated with the chance of achieving a clinical pregnancy or a live birth in all intrauterine insemination or IVF/ICSI treatment cycles. When compared to non-smokers, the adjusted relative risk for obtaining a live birth for those reporting smoking was 1.22 (0.70 - 2.12) among women initiating 1456 intrauterine insemination treatment cycles. Among women initiating 2788 IVF/ICSI treatment cycles, those reporting occasional/daily smoking had a relative risk for obtaining a live birth of 1.15 (0.82 - 1.60) when compared to non-smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Female occasional/daily cigarette smoking was not associated with the chance of achieving a clinical pregnancy or a live birth when receiving medically assisted reproduction treatments. However, tobacco use before and during pregnancy remains a major cause of reduced fertility as well as maternal, fetal, and infant morbidity and mortality and should strongly be discouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13979
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • assisted reproduction, cigarette smoking, infertility, intrauterine insemination, lifestyle, pregnancy

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