IVF treatment smoking rules tightened up

For years health authorities have paid the bills for NHS patients as it has been a common practice insisting that women are not smokers if they seek IVF treatment. It is certain that smoking not only reduces the chances of the implantation being successful but the developing baby can be harmed and there is evidence to that.

Now primary care trusts (PCTs) have raised the bar even though there is a limited amount of evidence that smoking before conception can damaged sperm. There are now requirements with men being mouth swabbed for evidence of smoking or asked to blow into a breathalyzer that analyzes the amount of carbon monoxide in the exhaled air.

The device is so sensitive that it can pick up CO from someone that has only the occasional cigarette. Women are refused treatment until their partners get a green signal to go. But many say it is almost impossible to determine whether or not biological damage was done in a child due to passive smoking during childhood or damage to egg DNA and sperm from parents smoking before conception.

There is not conclusive evidence that the effect of smoking on DNA was strong enough to cause any serious health problems in the child. Nevertheless it was clear smoking does cause epigenetic changes that could be potentially harmful in eggs and sperm.

Now the NHS organizations are insisting both of the parents do not smoke and some of those include; NHS Yorkshire and Humberside, East Midlands Specialist Commissioning Group and NHS South Staffordshire.