Dec 07 2015

How Alcohol Affects Fertility: Topics for Women and Men


A woman drinking wineBecoming pregnant can be difficult since there are many factors that can result in reduced fertility. Patients often come to Dr. Janelle Dorsett at her Lubbock practice to have these issues addressed, often through state-of-the-art fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Many patients have questions about alcohol during pregnancy and before pregnancy. Let's look at this issue in some detail. It's a little more complicated than you may think.

Alcohol During Pregnancy Is Obviously a No-No (or Is It?)

During pregnancy, women should refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages in excess. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to a number of birth defects in your child, and can lead to major issues with fetal health and fetal development.

Some people may say you're allowed to have small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. The Department of Health, for instance, says that a glass of wine a week is acceptable. Really, pregnant women should be very cautious about drink alcohol in general just to be safe. The research is ongoing about acceptable amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant, and a woman's body chemistry can make a difference where these matters are concerned.

It's important that you consult with your general practitioner, your OB/GYN, and your fertility doctor about these matters for more detailed information and recommendations on behaviors to avoid during pregnancy.

Can Alcohol Affect My Ability to Become Pregnant?

Studies are conflicting about this, but researches say that there is some evidence that alcohol can lead to reduced fertility in men as well as women. This goes for heavy drinking as well as light and moderate alcohol consumption.

In one study from Harvard that studied the fertility rates of people undergoing IVF, women who had more than the equivalent of three glasses of wine a week were 18 percent less likely of successful conception; men in this study experienced a 14 percent lower fertility rate.

How Does Alcohol Lower Your Fertility?

For women, the exact mechanism that triggers lowered fertility has yet to be fully understood. For men, it's been shown that major alcohol consumption can result in reduced testosterone levels. In the process, this translate into a lower sperm count and poorer sperm quality.

When Is a Good Time to Stop or Limit Drinking Alcohol?

There is conflicting information on what is best with regard to these matters. In general, it's a good idea to stop drinking alcohol a few weeks before you stop using contraception. This will allow the alcohol to be processed out by your system and help boost your chances of successful pregnancy.

Other Dietary Concerns to Keep in Mind

In addition to refraining from alcohol, it's important to have a balanced diet that's rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. A healthy lifestyle is always best when it comes to total wellness and increasing the chances of successful pregnancy. Your general practitioner can help note any nutritional deficiencies that ought be addressed to boost your fertility.

What Can I Do If I Cannot Conceive?

If you still have problems conceiving and nothing seems to be working, meeting with a fertility specialist may be your best option. We can discuss all of your treatment options in greater detail and help you make the best choices given your situation.

Learn More at Our Lubbock Fertility Practice

To learn more about your treatment options for male infertility and female infertility, it's important that you contact our team of fertility specialists today. Dr. Janelle Dorsett and the team at the practice will work with you to make sure you receive the guidance and assistance you need.

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The Centre for Reproductive Medicine
Lubbock Office

Address: 3405 22nd St Ste 300
Lubbock, TX 79410

Phone: (806) 788-1212