Study Finds Alcohol But Not Caffeine Can Affect Success of Fertility Treatments

A couple drinking coffee outside.Share on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images
  • New research found regular alcohol consumption can reduce people’s chances of getting pregnant after fertility treatments and having a live birth.
  • However, caffeine doesn’t appear to impact the success of fertility treatments.
  • Scientists are still learning about the ways in which alcohol and caffeine impact fertility.

New research found that caffeine doesn’t appear to impact the success of fertility treatments, however, regular alcohol consumption can reduce people’s chances of getting pregnant and having a live birth after these treatments.

The meta-analysis, which published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica Wednesday, also found that men’s alcohol consumption can impact the risk of a pregnant partner experiencing a miscarriage after a fertility treatment.

Though scientists are still learning about the ways in which alcohol and caffeine impact fertility, it’s widely believed that alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, alter the health of the uterus, and impair sperm quality.

Dana Ellis Hunnes, a clinical dietitian, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, and author of Recipe for Survival, says the main takeaway is that alcohol consumption, even in low or moderate amounts, in both men and women is associated with decreased fertility when pursuing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment.

“Keeping this in mind might encourage more people to abstain from alcohol if they are trying to get pregnant through one of these methods,” Hunnes said.

Alcohol linked to lower pregnancy and birth rates

The researchers evaluated 16 studies that included a total of 26,922 women and their partners who underwent IVF or ICSI.

The research team analyzed data on seven studies that looked at caffeine and alcohol consumption among people who underwent fertility treatments. From these studies, they looked at a total of 26,922 individuals and/or their spouses along with the group’s live birth rate and pregnancy rate.

They found that caffeine didn’t appear to impact the woman’s ability to get pregnant or successfully give birth after fertility treatments, however, those who drank 84 grams, which equates to about seven drinks, a week experienced a 7% lower chance of getting pregnant compared to those who didn’t drink alcohol.

Interestingly, the male partner’s alcohol consumption also impacted the pregnancy success rates after fertility treatments. When the men drank 84 grams of alcohol a week, the live birth rate decreased by 9%.

“In summary, when the woman consumes alcohol, there is a decreased chance of achieving pregnancy. When the male partner consumes alcohol, there is an increased risk of miscarriage,” says Becca Romero, a clinical nutritionist, fertility specialist and owner of Little Life Nutrition.

Does caffeine affect pregnancy?

Women are often advised to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, however, caffeine — especially in low doses — is less toxic than alcohol, says Hunnes.

Romero was surprised to see that this meta-analysis found that caffeine didn’t have a significant impact for women during fertility treatment since other previous studies have found inconclusive results for caffeine consumption to miscarriage.

Here’s how alcohol impacts pregnancy

Dr. Brindha Bavan, a reproductive medicine and fertility specialist at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, says that alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances that can interfere with an embryo’s ability to implant to the uterus wall. Alcohol can also cause oxidative stress throughout the body and impact egg quality.

“When going through IVF, it is imperative that eggs are of high quality so they are healthy enough to be transferred for a viable pregnancy,” Romero said.

As the study showed, the male’s drinking, which is often overlooked, can also affect a pregnancy after fertility treatments.

According to Bavan, past research has shown that heavy alcohol use has been associated with erectile dysfunction and lower sperm quality. Alcohol may also cause genetic changes in the sperm, Bavan added.

“Alcohol consumption can cause oxidative stress in the body and therefore have a negative impact on sperm quality and how morphologically normal the sperm are,” Romero said.

What to know about drinking during fertility treatments 

Romero says that she advises people undergoing fertility treatments to behave as though they are already pregnant.

“It is clear that alcohol can have a negative impact on the ability to achieve pregnancy and it is not worth the risk for a few drinks,” Romero said.

Hunnes says that, based on these new findings, there doesn’t seem to be a need to avoid caffeine altogether, however, she would still recommend limiting caffeine consumption to one to two cups a day.

In addition to limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, eating a healthy diet and taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin can boost one’s chances at getting pregnant through IVF.

“Overall, moderation is key to optimize general health and well-being before pregnancy,” Bavan said.

The bottom line: 

New research found that caffeine doesn’t appear to impact the success of fertility treatments, however, regular alcohol consumption can reduce people’s chances of getting pregnant and having a live birth. scientists are still learning about the ways in which alcohol and caffeine impact fertility, but it’s widely believed that alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, alter the health of the uterus, and impair sperm quality.

Related Posts

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

POPULAR TODAY

POPULAR NEWS

EDITOR'S PICK

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.