Is Fertility Affected By Drinking Alcohol?
Everyone enjoys the odd glass of wine or whiskey and there is nothing wrong with unwinding in that way if you enjoy it. For people trying to conceive it might be worrying, as one has to answer the question of whether or not drinking alcohol can affect their fertility.
How much is too much?
When you are trying to get pregnant, it is always better to err on side of caution. Ultimately, all alcohol usage would be best avoided, especially if you are a women.
If you are not willing to forgot your social drinking, keep this in mind:
- One normal sized alcoholic beverage (wine, beer, cocktail, or mixed drink) contains about one half ounce (15g) of absolute alcohol.
- Moderate alcohol abuse typically equates to around five alcoholic drinks daily.
- Extreme alcohol abuse equates to over eight or more alcoholic drinks in a day.
Alcohol Does Affect Fertility
Studies have shown that alcohol consumption can negatively impacts fertility in both men and women. According to Drink Aware, women who are pregnant, or who are trying to get pregnant, are advised to abstain from alcohol completely. Everyone knows that fetal alcohol syndrome can be exceptionally damaging and affect everything from the child’s weight to neurological functions in the brain.
Alcohol and Fertility in Women
Women who want to get pregnant are advised to abstain from alcohol. Even moderate drinking can decrease one’s fertility. One study showed that consuming between one and five drinks a week could decrease fertility while drinking more than ten drinks can lower a woman’s fertility even more. Bearing in mind that once a woman is pregnant she will have to abstain completely, it is good practice to refrain from consuming alcohol while trying to conceive.
Women should be aware that there are many negative reproductive effects to consider before consuming alcohol. These range from inability to get pregnant and an increased risk of a miscarriage, to poor fetal growth and development.
Simply put, by drinking alcohol, can cause you to experience miscarriage, pre-term birth, and stillbirth.
Many ovulatory dysfunctions are linked to consuming alcohol in excess, and if you do suffer with infertility, especially anovulation, then you must avoid alcohol use for both you and your baby’s sake.
Babies of alcoholic mothers are at an increased risk of having fetal alcohol syndrome. First described by Jones in 1973, fetal alcohol syndrome is often characterized by a deficiency in growth, mental retardation, behavioral instabilities, as well as an atypical heart-shaped facial appearance.
Furthermore, 30 to 40 percent of babies born to mothers who drink alcohol, either before or during pregnancy, frequently experience congenital heart defects or brain anomalies.
There is no ‘safe’ drinking amount for pregnant and trying to conceive women – therefore it is best to abstain from drinking alcohol during this time.
Male Fertility and Alcohol
Men tend to drink more than women do and can generally handle it. However, the night out with the boys also affects their fertility. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol lowers testosterone levels as well as the quality and quantity of sperm. It also has a negative effect on the liver and can create an increase in estrogen. Everyone knows what type of affect alcohol has on a man’s libido, but few people know that it can also cause impotence. Men that drink heavily have less chance of conceiving a child. However, by abstaining from alcohol this is easily reversed. Ideally, couples wanting to have children should abstain from alcohol for a few months before attempting to conceive; since sperm needs at least three months to mature, a semen analysis should be done again after 3-4 months of abstinence to ensure proper sperm count.
Related Internet Articles:
- Pregnant women who drink alchohol may reduce the sperm count of sons (guardian.co.uk)
- Middle-class mothers’ alcohol risk to babies (telegraph.co.uk)