New Year, New You? Why Giving Up Booze Can Boost Your Fertility Chances

alcohol and fertility

If you’re looking to boost your fertility chances this year, the first thing you’ll want to do is reduce, or completely eliminate alcohol from your diet. While many patients know alcohol can reduce their chances of fertility, they often don’t realise even moderate amounts can damage the chances of conception.

Studies show just 5 drinks per week can lower women’s fertility

There have been several studies which have looked into the effects of alcohol on fertility, but one of the most compelling took place over a period of three years. The study followed 430 couples aged between 20-35. The women who drank five or less alcoholic drinks per week, were discovered to have a lower fertility rate than those who didn’t drink. However, interestingly it didn’t affect the length of time it took them to get pregnant.

After following up after the sixth fertility cycle, approximately 64% of the women who drank five or less drinks per week had fallen pregnant. However, those who drank more than 5 drinks per week, had a slightly lower pregnancy rate of 55%. They also took longer to fall pregnant than those who drank 5 or less drinks a week.

Although the study identified a link between female fertility and alcohol consumption, it didn’t appear to affect men in the same way. It claimed regardless of how much alcohol men drank, it did not affect their fertility rates. However, before men get too excited, newer studies have shown alcohol can reduce the concentration and motility of a man’s sperm when consumed regularly.

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to determine alcohol’s effect on fertility. They have produced some compelling findings, such as women who do seek fertility treatment tend to have a much higher alcohol intake than women who managed to become pregnant naturally. They have also shown that alcohol can slow down the release of hormones which are developed within the adrenal glands. This can directly affect the health of eggs, as well as significantly reduce libido.

National Health and Medical Research Council warn against heavy alcohol consumption

It isn’t just fertility chances which are affected by alcohol. Studies also show it also poses a risk to babies which are conceived. The National Health and Medical Research Council has warned against the adverse effects heavy drinking in particular, can have on babies conceived.

It’s already well-known that alcohol can be extremely harmful to babies if consumed during pregnancy. Mothers who drink more than one or two units of alcohol a day whilst pregnant, increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. However, drinking heavily prior to conception can also impact baby’s health. Therefore, it is much safer to avoid drinking alcohol completely until after the birth.

This latest study into how alcohol affects a woman’s fertility chances highlights how important it is to give up alcohol when you’re trying to get pregnant. Even small quantities can make it more difficult to conceive. Therefore, prior to starting any fertility treatment, it is highly recommended patients, both men and women, cut out alcohol completely.