How Can Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Fertility?

Dr. Randy Morris

How Can Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Fertility?

Dr. Randy Morris

When you are trying to conceive, a number of lifestyle factors which were no cause for concern before may become significant. In some cases, alcohol can be a factor in infertility. Below, we will take a look at the link between alcohol and fertility.

Alcohol and Fertility in Women

Frequent, heavy alcohol use can make it more difficult for women to get pregnant. More importantly, drinking alcohol can have negative effects on the fetus before a woman is even aware she is pregnant. Therefore, women who are trying to conceive should refrain from alcohol use.

Alcohol and Fertility in Men

Mild alcohol use, such as having a drink or two a few times a week, has not been shown to have a significant effect on male fertility. However, more significant alcohol use, such as drinking 3 or more drinks several times a week, can have a negative effect on sperm count and sperm health. Although some men who use alcohol heavily have no problems with fertility, the link between alcohol and fertility is such that using alcohol can push men whose sperm count or motility is more borderline into the realm of infertility. Therefore, it is best to avoid heavy alcohol use when you are trying to conceive.

Alcohol and IVF

Alcohol use does have a negative impact on the success of IVF. Women who drink alcohol produce less eggs, have lower pregnancy and higher miscarriage rates. Men who drink alcohol produces lower pregnancy rates and higher miscarriage rate in their partners undergoing IVF. Even more concerning, this effect was seen from a single alcohol drink up to a month before the IVF treatment started. Based on this evidence, it is recommended that both men and women completely avoid alcohol at least a month before starting IVF.

Other Lifestyle Factors that Influence Fertility

In addition to the link between alcohol and fertility, a number of lifestyle factors can also impact your chances of getting pregnant. Most of these factors will not necessarily cause infertility, but like alcohol they can push people whose fertility is more borderline over the edge. If you are trying to conceive, altering these factors can give you the best chances of getting pregnant.

  • Smoking - Smoking has a negative impact on male and female fertility, as well as on the health of the fetus after pregnancy occurs.
  • Timing of sexual intercourse - The optimal time for acheving a pregnancy is over a three day window ending on the day of ovulation. To time intercourse with ovulation, you can use an ovulation predictor test or predict the approximate day of ovulation by the timing on previous months.
  • Use of lubrication - Whether it is safe to use vaginal lubrication during sex while trying to conceive is uncertain, but some lubricants can harm sperm. Unless you suffer from vaginal dryness, it is probably best to avoid lubricants. If use of a lubricant becomes necessary, a small amount of research suggests that Pre-Seed may be less harmful.
  • Wearing tight underwear - Some research suggests that for men, wearing tight underwear can reduce sperm count, perhaps by increasing the temperature in the testicles. This idea is controversial, howver.
  • Stress - Stress may or may not reduce the chances of conception. Unfortunately, trying to conceive is sometimes stressful on its own, but taking steps to manage your stress has potential benefit and no downside.
  • Weight - While it is well known that being obese will make it more difficult to get pregnant, many people do not realize that being underweight can make it more difficult also. For women, obesity and being underweight both increase the chances of complications when pregnancy does occur.

Dr. Randy Morris would be happy to meet with you about your reproductive health. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or call IVF1 at (630) 357-6540.