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Alcohol: What You Already Know But Don't Want To Admit.


Its probably NO surprise to anyone that excessive alcohol consumption is found to be associated with infertility. Effects include increased time to conception, anovulation, luteal phase dysfunction, poor or abnormal embryo development and even early menopause.

However, evidence for occasional alcohol consumption is less clear than that for excessive consumption: A study looking at 7760 women found no significant affects of alcohol on fertility in women younger than 30. However, in the SAME study, women over 30 who consumed more than seven alcoholic drinks per week were more likely to experience infertility than women who drank less than one per week. It is thought that alcohol affects the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body and thus alters menstrual cycle events that need to occur in order to become pregnant.

In addition, women who drank more than four units of alcohol per week during IVF treatment reduced their chances of live birth by 16 %.

Alcohol can become an area of contention between couples. It causes resentment if one partner abstains while the other does not. Many men think that their consumption does not affect fertility. But on the contrary heavy alcohol intake in men negatively impacts libido, sperm morphology and motility, time to conception and oxidative stress levels.

And even more interestingly, one study suggested that paternal alcohol use may not only affect a man’s fertility but also the development of his offspring. Male rats dosed on moderate or high alcohol 24 hours before mating resulted in reduced birth weights in the pups and reduced litter sizes, compared to those that were not dosed.

So what should you do? I always recommend that the best bet is for both partners to either abstaining from alcohol while trying to become pregnant or reduce the number of drinks to 3 drinks per week, max.

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