Wednesday 21 March 2018

Alcohol affects women's fertility

Acohol can have a harmful effect on fertility
Acohol can have a harmful effect on fertility

The "wine o'clock" habit, which has become part of the day's wind-down for many women in Ireland, is well highlighted, but a new study warns about its effects on fertility.

It said 14 or more servings of alcohol a week are slightly more likely to have reduced fertility. Low to moderate intake of alcohol, defined as one to seven servings a week, seemed to have no effect on women's fertility, nor did the type of alcohol beverage consumed.

But the authors still recommend for couples to abstain from alcohol during their fertile window until a pregnancy is ruled out, because the fetus may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol during the first few weeks after conception, the British Medical Journal reports.

In countries like Ireland, up to 24pc of couples experience infertility, defined as time to pregnancy of 12 months or more.

Official guidelines in several countries recommend that women trying to become pregnant should abstain from alcohol consumption. But the extent to which alcohol intake affects female fertility is unclear.

In the study, alcohol consumption was self-reported as beer (330ml bottles), red or white wine (120ml glasses), dessert wine (50ml glasses), and spirits (20ml).In women who drank 14 or more servings of alcohol a week, there were 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles, compared with 1,381 pregnancies in 8,054 cycles in women who did not drink.

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