Alcohol may affect success of fertility treatment, caffeine appears to be safe

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New research reveals that people undergoing fertility treatments should avoid drinking alcohol to increase their success rate and suggests that caffeine consumption may not have an impact. Alba Vitta/Stocksy
  • Options for fertility treatments have expanded in recent years. One option available is in vitro fertilization (IVF), which may involve the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
  • New research suggests that doctors should consider several lifestyle and health factors for people undergoing fertility treatments.
  • Data from a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis found that alcohol consumption was negatively associated with successful pregnancy using IVF and ICSI fertility treatments.

People looking to start a family have a variety of fertility treatment options.

However, individual lifestyle factors can impact the success of specific fertility treatment options. One area of ​​interest is how caffeine and alcohol affect the success rate of fertility treatment.

Data from a recent analysis published in Acta Obstetricia and Gynecologica Scandinavica sheds light on how alcohol and caffeine consumption can impact fertility treatments.

Researchers found that alcohol consumption was associated with lower success rates of fertility treatments in both men and women.

For people who suffer from infertility, there are a growing number of options for fertility treatments. Two options are in vitro fertilization (IVF) and an IVF procedure that uses intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

IVF involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside the woman’s body. Doctors then transfer the embryo to the uterus. Ideally, a healthy pregnancy and delivery can be achieved after successful implantation of an embryo.

Couples may try IVF for a variety of reasons, including male and female fertility issues.

I​CSI with IVF involves more specifically treating male fertility issues. In this method, specialists inject a single sperm inside the egg. This technique can be used when a male partner produces too few sperm or when sperm cannot enter the egg for successful fertilization.

Several factors can impact the success rates of IVF and ICSI fertility treatments. One area of ​​interest is how lifestyle factors may influence these success rates.

For example, researchers are still struggling to understand the impact of caffeine and alcohol consumption on IVF and ICSI success rates.

To further the understanding of the impact of caffeine and alcohol on fertility treatment success rates, researchers recently completed a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis.

The research included almost 27,000 people in the analysis, men, women and couples together.

Research studies eligible for meta-analysis included 7 studies of caffeine consumption and 9 studies of alcohol consumption.

Researchers did not find a significant association between caffeine consumption and fertility treatment success rates. However, the results on alcohol consumption were more significant. They found that alcohol consumption was negatively associated with fertility treatment success rates.

For women in particular, researchers found that alcohol consumption of 84 grams per week or more was negatively associated with pregnancy after IVF treatment with ICSI.

In men, they found that drinking 84 grams of alcohol per week or more was negatively associated with pregnancy and live birth rates after IVF treatment with ICSI.

There could be several reasons why alcohol seems to impact fertility treatment success rates.

Dr. Natalie Stentza dual-board certified OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist in Brighton, MA, not involved in the study, noted the following to Medical News Today:

“Several studies have examined the impact of alcohol consumption on oocyte and sperm quality, with the biological theory pointing out that alcohol consumption contributes to an overproduction of reactive oxygen species, causing stress. oxidative and thus adversely affecting fertility In general, and according to the ASRM [American Society for Reproductive Medicine] guidelines, although occasional alcohol consumption does not appear to have a substantial impact, regular alcohol consumption appears to have a dose-dependent effect. [impact] on egg and sperm quality.

Overall, the results of the new analysis indicate that alcohol consumption can negatively affect IVF and ICSI success rates. This is true for men’s and women’s alcohol consumption.

However, the researchers’ analysis also had several limitations.

Based on the nature of the research, the study may determine that alcohol causes IVF or ICSI to fail. Other factors, such as additional lifestyle changes, may have impacted study results.

The researchers also note that further studies should look at alcohol exposure time, as it may impact fertility outcomes. The risk of confusion and not taking certain factors into account is possible, and some data are based on self-reporting by participants, which can increase the risk of errors.

There were also limitations based on the number and type of studies available.

Finally, the research did not take into account specific sources of alcohol or caffeine, which means that other components such as the use of artificial sweeteners or additives could have contributed to the observed results.

Although research is limited on how much alcohol affects fertility, doctors can still offer recommendations based on the available research. For example, author non-author of the study Dr. Marcy F. MaguireFACOG, a partner physician and reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates in West Orange, NJ, not involved in the study, told DTM:

“Although we are certain that alcoholism has a negative impact on fetal development, it is less clear whether alcohol has an impact on fertility. Low alcohol consumption (1 to 2 drinks per week) and Moderate alcohol consumption (3 to 13 drinks per week) probably has little impact on fertility Heavy alcohol consumption (14 drinks per week or more) has been associated with reduced fertility in both men and women. men who drink excessively can have low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction.High levels of alcohol consumption are also associated with low sperm count.

Although the current analysis may have some limitations, the results add to a growing body of evidence on the impact of lifestyle factors on the success of fertility treatments.

Ultimately, anyone seeking fertility treatment should work closely with their doctor and other appropriate specialists to help improve their overall success rates.

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