Does Marijuana Use Impair Fertility?

Does Marijuana Use Impair Fertility?

A recent study, in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that marijuana use, by either men or women, does not seem to impair their ability to conceive a child.

Researchers form Boston University’s School of Public Health conducted a web-based prospective cohort study of North American couples living in the United States and Canada.  The study surveyed women in stable relationships, who were not using contraception and not undergoing fertility treatment.  4,194 women between the ages of 21-45 participated in the study. The female participants were given the option to invite their male partners to enroll in the study.  1,125 male partners ended up enrolling in the study.

During the time period from 2013 to 2017, 12% of female participants and 14% of male participants reported using marijuana in the 2 months before completing the baseline survey.  After 12 months of follow-up, the probability of conceiving was similar between those participants that reported marijuana use and those that did not.

These study findings need to be interpreted with caution given that they were based on self-reported data and did not analyze the exact timing and amount of marijuana use.  As with most things, dose and frequency likely do play a role.

In addition to this study, there have been several others that have tried to examine the effect of marijuana on fertility.  Some have linked marijuana use to altered reproductive hormones and semen quality, but many have had conflicting results.  A larger study analyzing dose, timing, and frequency would help interpret some of this conflicting data.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used recreational drugs amongst men and women of reproductive age. While small amounts may not impair fertility, I would still advise couples who are struggling to conceive to avoid excessive use. For more information about what lifestyle factors may impair fertility, visit our Lifestyle and Fertility page.

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