Smoking, drinking and IVF

Hi Robert,

My partner and I are at the very beginning of ivf; she is due to start her injections etc approximately on the 20th of next month roughly 5 weeks away. We’ve had an ectopic pregnancy before and upon further investigation the hospital removed both of her fallopian tubes due to them being blocked/damaged,  we initially tried to go with the egg sharing program and although the doctor was happy with the amount of eggs during the ultrasound,  her amh blood test was too low for egg sharing her level was at 9, so now we’re going for the ivf route, I’m extremely worried and want to know what your advice would be on her smoking and alcohol consumption and what we should and shouldn’t be doing and what we should be doing to achieve the very best possibility for success that we can. And beings as she begins her injections in roughly 5 weeks should she be drinking any alcohol or smoking, does it decrease the chances if she is.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated,

Many thanks.


Dear A.,

There is no serious good evidence that, in healthy people. drinking in moderation makes any difference to the outcome of IVF.  And although it may be politically incorrect to write this, our research many years at Hammersmith on some two thousand patients showed that moderate smoking made in difference to pregnancy rates, providing the sperm count was normal.

By the way – all sorts of diets, pills, potions, herbal treatments and dietary supplements are suggested by so-called experts on the web.  Most of these people are, in my view, quacks.  In virtually all circumstances, there are no properly conducted trials which provide evidence for the benefits claimed.

I have addressed this issue fairly fully in this blog before and may do so in more detail in due course again.

Best wishes

Robert Winston