New evidence suggests that even moderate use of alcohol can reduce a woman’s fertility by up to 50 percent.
In an effort find a scientific explanation for the effects of alcohol on fertility, Dr. Rosemarie B. Hakim and colleagues in Baltimore analyzed the menstrual cycles of 124 healthy women, and measured how their conception rates were affected by alcohol consumption.
Researchers found that the rate of conception decreased by over 50 percent during a menstrual cycle in which women reported drinking any amount of alcohol. “Women who abstained from alcohol conceived 26.9 pregnancies per 100 menstrual cycles, compared with 10.5 percent per 100 menstrual cycles among those who consumed any alcohol,” the authors of the study reported.
Although alcohol use was the primary focus of the study, researchers also confirmed previous research about the effects of smoking and caffeine on fertility. Researchers reported that cigarette smoke caused “drastically reduced fertility,” and caffeine caused a small decrease in fertility.
It was recommended by the authors that “women attempting to conceive should be encouraged to abstain from alcohol and reduce their caffeine consumption.” Hakim recommends that abstinence from alcohol should begin “as soon as couples, especially those with fertility problems, start ‘trying.'”