Cigarette smoke affects female fertility

Cigarettes often contain a number of chemical additives in addition to shredded tobacco.  Though cigarette smoke exposure has been linked to lung and heart disease, it was unclear how the smoke would affect a developing fetus.

Now researchers out of Newcastle University have identified another potentially devastating effect due to cigarette smoke exposure: a decrease in female fertility.

Scientists exposed both pregnant mice and newborn mice to a number of the chemicals commonly found in cigarettes.

Researchers found that even small doses of the chemicals altered both the ovaries and eggs of female mice.

As a result of exposure, up to ⅓ of the eggs disappeared, while the remaining eggs became abnormal and were found to have DNA damage.  These abnormalities could make it difficult to conceive.

These results suggest that a mother’s choice to smoke cigarettes could affect the fertility of her unborn daughters.


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