By Will Boggs, MD, March 31, 2006
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The
likelihood of a good outcome of fertility treatment
is reduced if either the man or the woman uses
marijuana, compared with couples that don't use it,
the results of a new study suggest.
If these study findings are
confirmed by additional research, we would recommend
that physicians tell couples to not use marijuana
for at least one year before starting fertility
treatment, Dr. Hillary S. Klonoff-Cohen from
University of California, La Jolla, told Reuters
Klonoff-Cohen and colleagues
investigated the possible effects of marijuana use
on the outcomes of 221 couples who underwent in
vitro fertilization (IVF) or gamete intrafallopian
transfer (GIFT) treatment for infertility. The
findings are published in the American Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.
At least 10 percent of men and women
smoked marijuana in the year before the fertility
procedure, the authors report, and 3 percent of
women and 0.5 percent of men reported smoking
marijuana the day before the procedure.
Longer marijuana use over a woman's
lifetime reduced the number of eggs that could be
retrieved and the number of embryos that could be
transferred, the results indicate.
Women who smoked marijuana during
the year before the procedure had 25 percent fewer
eggs and about one fewer embryo transferred,
compared with women who didn't smoke marijuana
during that year, the researchers note.
Similarly, marijuana smoking by the
man during the year before the procedure was
associated with approximately one fewer embryo
transferred, the report indicates.
Any lifetime use of marijuana by
both partners was associated with a 19 percent
decrease in eggs retrieved, compared with couples
who never smoked marijuana.
Furthermore, Klonoff-Cohen's group
found that if the man or the woman had ever used
marijuana, their infant had a significantly lower
birthweight, compared with individuals who had never
used marijuana. This effect seemed to increase with
higher or more recent marijuana use.
"Marijuana has been implicated with
low birthweight, although the results are
inconsistent," Klonoff-Cohen commented. However,
this is the first report of a relationship between
marijuana use by the father and low infant birth
weight, so our findings need to be verified by
"We are currently evaluating the
effect of marijuana use on intracytoplasmic sperm
injection patients," Klonoff-Cohen added.
SOURCE: American Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology, February 2006