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Can alcohol consumption influence fertility?

08 Mai 2024

Infertility affects more than 45 million couples worldwide. Lifestyle factors such as weight, diet, alcohol consumption and smoking can affect fertility and the chance of having children (1).

Infertility is technically defined as the inability to become pregnant after twelve months of regular sexual intercourse and without contraceptive methods (2). In other words, if a couple tries to get pregnant for a year without contraception and fails, it is possible that they fit this definition. In 20% of cases, infertility has an unknown cause and may be related to male factors, female factors or a combination of both (3). Available treatments are costly both financially and psychosocially, so it is important to consider lifestyle factors to increase success rates.

The mechanism by which alcohol consumption affects fertility is not yet fully determined. Among women, there is evidence suggesting that excessive drinking and chronic drinking are linked to reduced fertility and an increased risk of developing menstrual disorders. One hypothesis suggests that there is a change in the concentrations of endogenous hormones (that is, produced by the body itself), having a direct impact on egg maturation, ovulation, and embryonic development (4).

In the case of men, excessive alcohol consumption can affect testosterone metabolism and spermatogenesis (the process by which sperm are produced), altering sperm morphology. Some authors have reported that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with a higher concentration of leukocytes in seminal fluid, which can negatively affect sperm quality (5). Therefore, couples who want to get pregnant should reflect on their alcohol consumption for a healthy conception. Avoiding harmful alcohol consumption certainly provides better results for anyone trying to have a child. Furthermore, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as a balanced diet, regular physical exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, can also help to increase the chances of successful conception.


Additional Info

  • Referências:

    1. Boedt T, Vanhove A-C, Vercoe MA, Matthys C, Dancet E, Lie Fong S. Preconception
    lifestyle advice for people with infertility. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
    2021, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD008189. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008189.pub3.
    2. Zegers-Hochschild, Fernando et al. “The International Glossary on Infertility and Fertility
    Care, 2017.” Human reproduction (Oxford, England) vol. 32,9 (2017): 1786-1801.
    3. Government of South Australia Department of Health, Maternal and Neonatal Clinical
    Network. Clinical practice guideline for preconception advice.
    4. Skoracka, Kinga, et al. "Female Fertility and the Nutritional Approach: The Most
    Essential Aspects." Advances in Nutrition 12.6 (2021): 2372-2386.
    5. Balawender, Krzysztof, and Stanisław Orkisz. “The impact of selected modifiable
    lifestyle factors on male fertility in the modern world.” Central European journal of
    urology vol. 73,4 (2020): 563-568. doi:10.5173/ceju.2020.1975

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