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No two ways about it: Smoking is bad for your health. If you smoke and are trying to fall pregnant, consider these facts:

^ Smokers have lower fertility than non-smokers: The many toxic substances in tobacco smoke have negative effects on sperm count, follicle development, ovulation, transport of the egg through the fallopian tubes, fertilisation and embryo development — yes, pretty much every aspect of fertility!

^ Smoking reduces your chances of IVF success:

Women who smoke need nearly twice as many IVF cycles to conceive as non-smokers.

• The male partner smoking decreases IVF success rates.

• The risk of early pregnancy loss after IVF treatment is twice as high for women who smoke as for non-smokers.

• Passive smoking reduces the chance of IVF pregnancy by 20 per cent.

Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, because nicotine is a very addictive substance, but if you and/or your partner smoke, make a pact to kick the habit before you start IVF treatment.

ëMany effective methods are available to make quitting smoking easier. To find out how you can help yourself to stop smoking once and for all:

^ Call the Quitline on 13 18 48 ^ Talk to your family doctor

^ Visit the Australian government's Quit Now website at www.quitnow.

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