Marijuana use has never been more accepted – or more widely legal. But while marijuana can have a ton of benefits for people struggling with certain conditions, the increased prevalence of cannabis does pose some questions for those who are trying to conceive. In particular: does marijuana affect fertility, and if so, how?
At this time, we lack a lot of conclusive data on marijuana use and fertility, especially in terms of its risks. However, a number of studies have been done over the past several years that do pinpoint some concerning correlations, and you should pay attention if you’re struggling to get pregnant.
In this article, we’re breaking down what the current data has to tell us about marijuana and fertility, including the various ways it could potentially reduce your chances of conception in any given month.
Pot Smoking and Fertility: What’s the Issue?
You may already know that it’s generally considered safe to drink moderately in the lead-up to a positive pregnancy test. But when it comes to smoking weed, there’s a lot more confusion – and a lot less information available.
Current data suggests that there are three ways marijuana can negatively impact fertility:
- Reduced sperm count
- Delayed ovulation
- Worsening of existing fertility problems
As fertility doctors, we think it’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean all couples who engage in marijuana use will have difficulty conceiving. And in fact, at least one study has found no significant connection between casual marijuana use among men and/or women and the time it takes to conceive.
Ultimately, more and better research is still needed on the topic of pot smoking and fertility. But if you’re a smoker who’s also trying to conceive, it does help to know about the possible risks that have already been established and how they may (or may not) impact your chances.
Does Weed Make You Infertile?
Current data does not show that marijuana leads to infertility. Instead, it suggests that certain key reproductive functions can be negatively impacted by regular marijuana use and that anyone struggling to conceive may be better off cutting weed out of their routines.
Let’s take a deeper look at the three primary ways weed can impact fertility and why you may want to reconsider the habit if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Issue #1: Marijuana Can Reduce Sperm Counts
A Danish study evaluating more than 1,200 men found a 29% decrease in total sperm count among participants who smoked marijuana more than once a week in a three-month period. Fewer sperm means fewer chances for a fertilized egg, and therefore a reduced chance of conception.
Issue #2: Marijuana Can Delay Ovulation
Timing is everything when you’re trying to get pregnant, so it’s important to recognize the potential impact of pot smoking on ovulation. And according to one study, both occasional and frequent marijuana use can delay ovulation. The study also found a correlation between study participants who smoked marijuana and those who experienced cycles where ovulation did not occur at all.
Issue #3: Marijuana May Worsen Existing Fertility Issues
Perhaps an even better approach than asking how weed impacts fertility is to ask how weed can impact existing fertility problems. Couples experiencing infertility or subfertility are more likely to see decreases in conception rates due to lowered sperm counts or delayed ovulation, and as such, they have more reason to be concerned.
We still have a lot to learn about the connection between marijuana use and fertility. So if you’re asking, “Can I eat edibles if trying to get pregnant?” or wondering if you should ditch the occasional smoke in order to increase your chances of success, you probably won’t find a definitive answer one way or the other. What you will find, though, are some good reasons to abstain if you or your partner are currently dealing with infertility, especially if you’ve pinpointed issues related to sperm count or ovulation.
The Final Takeaway
So, does weed affect fertility enough that all couples trying to conceive should kick the habit? Current research doesn’t have the answer, but it does tell us that regular weed smoking could be an issue for some.
Our recommendation: if you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year without success, or if you know that you or your partner have an existing fertility issue, then you may want to stop using marijuana. It can’t hurt, and it may even help.
Have other fertility questions? At New Hope, we strive to provide all individuals with the information they need to take charge of their fertility. Please contact us to learn more about trying to conceive and available fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Why New Hope?
New Hope Fertility Center is home to world-renowned fertility specialists. We custom-design fertility treatments for the individual to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Our specialists believe in putting the patient first and being with them through every step of the fertility journey. Our team is well-versed in helping women of all ages reach their fertility goals and we are passionate about educating and supporting our patients throughout their journey. If you want compassionate fertility care, New Hope is the right place for you. Call us at (347) 970-8479 or schedule your initial consultation today!