Vaping has become a popular alternative to traditional smoking in recent years. But while it’s been marketed as a healthier option, the long-term effects of vaping are still not fully understood. One area of concern is the impact of vaping on fertility, especially for those who are considering freezing their eggs for future use. In this article, we’ll dive into the research on if vaping is okay for egg freezing and donation.
Impact of vaping on fertility
Several studies have found that vaping can have negative effects on reproductive health, including decreased fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), infertility rates in male and female smokers are twice as high as infertility rates among nonsmokers, with infertility rates rising with the number of cigarettes smoked daily. The main ingredients in e-cigarette liquids, such as nicotine and propylene glycol, have been shown to have toxic effects on the ovaries and the eggs they contain.
Nicotine has been shown to reduce the quality and quantity of eggs in the ovaries. It can also lead to decreased blood flow to the ovaries, which can negatively impact the development of the follicles, the structures in the ovaries that contain the eggs. Despite needing more medication during the egg freezing process, smokers often have fewer eggs available for retrieval during an egg freezing cycle, as well as 30% lower pregnancy rates compared with nonsmokers.
Propylene glycol, another common ingredient in e-cigarette liquids, has been shown to have a toxic effect on the ovaries and eggs. The same study has linked propylene glycol to oxidative stress, which can lead to damage to the eggs and decreased fertility. In addition, propylene glycol has been shown to cause DNA damage, which can affect the quality of the eggs.
How vaping may affect egg freezing outcomes
Egg freezing is a process where a woman's eggs are retrieved, frozen, and stored for later use once she is ready to fertilize them and start or grow her family. The more eggs that are retrieved, the better the chances of a live birth down the line.
While the effects of vaping on fertility are still largely unknown, many fertility clinics advise their patients to quit vaping in an effort to improve egg freezing outcomes related to quality and quantity based on the above research on smoking. Lower quality eggs with a higher DNA damage rate could impact the success of a future pregnancy using these frozen eggs, as these eggs may be less likely to fertilize into embryos (or result in a successful implantation). In addition, fewer eggs retrieved from those who vaped may result in fewer options for future use, which can increase the likelihood of needing additional egg freezing cycles.
Our programs offer the opportunity to freeze your eggs in a way that’s more empowering, positive, and affordable — even free. Take our quiz today to see if you qualify for Split, our free egg freezing program.
Can I donate my eggs if I vape?
If you are considering applying for our Split program, where you can freeze your eggs for free when you donate half of the eggs retrieved to another family, please note that you will not be considered eligible if you currently use any nicotine products, including vaping. If you engage in vaping regularly, you will need to quit for two to three months before re-applying for the program. If you only vape occasionally/socially, you will need to quit for one month prior to your retrieval date.
Summing it up
In conclusion, while data is somewhat limited, it appears that the effects of vaping on fertility can have an impact on women who are considering egg freezing. The ingredients in e-cigarette liquids, such as nicotine and propylene glycol, have been shown to have negative effects on reproductive health, including decreased fertilization rates and increased risk of miscarriage. In addition, it is possible that vaping can lead to a lower number of eggs retrieved during an egg freezing cycle and a higher rate of DNA damage in the retrieved eggs.
Our recommendation? Safe is better than sorry — in the interest of the best cycle outcome, it’s probably a good idea to hold off on the e-cigarettes leading up to and during your egg retrieval.
If you’re considering egg freezing, consult with a fertility specialist or take our quiz to learn more about how you can preserve your fertility.