There has been much debate and discussion about the effect of alcohol on fertility. When we look at babies born to alcoholic parents it seems that we have cause to really question whether this is true or not. However it is acknowledged that there is now no safe level of alcohol for a healthy conception and pregnancy and for couples facing fertility problems this is even more the case.
‘The connection between alcohol consumption and impaired reproductive function has been accepted for a few years now. However, studies are now revealing a similar pattern with low to moderate alcohol consumption as well, with one study suggesting that even one glass of alcohol can decrease fertility by 50%! Additional research shows the probability of conception in women and fertility in men also decreases proportionately as alcohol consumption increases.’ (Gabriela Rosa – founder and director of Natural Fertility & Health Solutions)
So how exactly does alcohol affect fertility?
Both men and women are susceptible to the influences of alcohol on their hormonal levels. Our hormonal system is a beautiful integrated system of balancing levels and co-ordination. Alcohol directly interferes with this balance and the sequencing of hormones and our body’s response. In women, it can directly impact our menstruation and ovulation as well as cause dysfunction and abnormality with the lining of the uterus to receive the embryo. Not only does alcohol have an impact on our fertility, but it also has an impact on foetal growth and the health of a pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol has its effect on the male system as well. In men it can cause impotence and can be toxic to sperm production. High alcohol levels are associated with an increase of oestrogen levels in men which directly impacts and decreases sperm production and can even lead to prostate cancer later in life.
Not only does alcohol effect our hormonal levels but it has a limiting effect on the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients especially antioxidants, zinc and selenium – all of which are essential to healthy reproductive function.
“It becomes quite apparent how impaired nutrient levels resulting from alcohol consumption during the preconception preparation period (120 days prior to a conception attempt) and during pregnancy and lactation may initially lead to fertility problems and eventually to poor health outcomes for you and your baby.” (Gabriela Rosa.)
To boost your fertility and assist in balancing your hormones and nutritional absorption, it is recommended that you abstain from alcohol for at least 3-6 months before trying to fall pregnant. This gives your body a chance to form healthy sperm and mature healthy eggs. Along with a nutritional diet and balanced lifestyle you will increase your chances of conception and sustain a healthy pregnancy.
This article was adapted from Gabriela Rosa – Internationally renowned author, researcher and leading natural fertility specialist