A team of UK researchers has found that second-hand cigarette smoke could affect a woman's ability to conceive. The scientists, based at Bristol University, found that passive smoking can increase a woman's chances of taking more than 12 months to conceive by up to a third.
The results of the study, part of the long-term 'Children of the Nineties' research project into health during pregnancy and childhood, will be published in the next issue of Fertility and Sterility. The scientists studied 8,500 couples over a ten-year period, and found that if a woman is exposed to passive smoke at work or at home, the chances that she will take more than a year to conceive increase by 14 per cent. If her partner smokes more than 20 cigarettes a day, the chances of delayed conception increase by 34 per cent, regardless of other factors such as weight, age or level of education.
In agreement with previous studies, the research also shows that if a woman is a smoker herself, the chances of her taking more than a year to conceive increase by more than 50 per cent. 'The results of our study provide more compelling reasons for couples trying to start a family to give up smoking themselves and avoid public places where smoking is allowed' said author Chris Ford.