Fertility Fact: High alcohol intake may delay pregnancy.
Women, Fertility, and Alcohol
Compared to women who consume no alcohol, women who consumer a moderate amount (up to 5 drinks per week) show decreased fertility. Women who consume more than 10 alcoholic drinks per week show an even greater decrease in their chances of conceiving on a given cycle. Since there is no confirmed “safe” threshold of consumption, the US Surgeon General recommends complete alcohol abstinence in women planning pregnancy, at conception, and during pregnancy.
A Harvard University study showed that among couples undergoing IVF, women who consumed more than 6 alcoholic drinks per week had an 18% less chance of conceiving, while men who had a similar alcoholic consumption had 14% less chance of conceiving.
Alcohol and the Two Week Wait
Women who are in their two week wait (the time after an insemination or embryo transfer prior to their pregnancy test) are advised to avoid alcoholic beverages all together. “We want our patients to have the best possible chance at pregnancy,” states Joseph Doyle, MD. Shady Grove Fertility recommends women to treat their bodies as if they were pregnant during this time.
Men, Fertility, and Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol in men may impact fertility as well. Men who consume large quantities of alcoholic drinks (5 or more drinks) may have lowered testosterone levels and reduced sperm quality and quantity. Alcohol is also linked to impotence in men. For men, reducing the amount of alcohol consumed can quickly reverse these side effects.
It is recommended that people trying to conceive on their own or with the assistance of fertility treatment avoid alcoholic drinks. If you are having trouble conceiving or for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons by calling 877-971-7755.