Smoking delays embryo development, says report

Time-lapse photography shows the slowing effect of smoking on embryo development for the first time


“You want a baby, quit smoking.” This is the stern advice from Dr Thomas Freour, senior embryologist and lead researcher, in a study of time-lapse photography that shows the embryos of women who smoke have slower development than those who don’t, reports the BBC.


Researchers from a French IVF clinic took photos of an egg at the point it was fertilised, until the moment it was implanted into the mum-to-be. The results showed that at all stages of development, embryos from female smokers were, on average, two hours behind.

Dr Freour said, “It is significant and nobody knew that before.”

Comparing the embryos with non-smokers, researchers noted the eight-cell stage took 62 hours in smokers’ embryos compared to 58 hours for non-smokers.

“You should quit smoking, it couldn’t be easier. What else can I say?” said Dr Freour.

Dr Freour’s comments would seem to be in keeping with MFM’s view that recent parenting health news seems like common sense.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffiled, said it was an “interesting” study, but that it was “early days” for time-lapse technology.


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