New research shows fertility treatment success depends on both parents’ intake of alcohol but coffee appears to be OK

For couples trying to conceive via fertility treatments such as IVF and ICSI, what they put in their cup matters.

Illustration of sperm competing for an egg
Illustration of the fertilisation process. Credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

In a research technique known as a meta-analysis, researchers examined a total of 7 studies on caffeine consumption and 9 studies on alcohol consumption, to investigate their impact on live birth rate after fertility treatment.

The studies, which covered all relevant studies published before July 15 2022, included a total of 26,922 women and/or their spouse and demonstrated no association between women’s caffeine consumption and the rate of live births after fertility treatments.

When it comes to alcohol, however, it’s a different story.

The research indicated that for women undertaking fertility treatment, consumption of more than 84 g of alcohol weekly (approximately 7 standard drinks) was associated with a decreased pregnancy rate of around 7 % when compared to those who abstained.

Fertility treatment. A man holding an alcohol beverage looks at a woman
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Better put down that 8th drink… Credit: Christopher Robbins/Getty Images

Men’s consumption of more than 84 g weekly was associated with a 9% lower live birth rate after fertility treatments in women, as compared to those who abstained.

For those going through the sometimes heartbreaking and exhausting procedures of fertility treatments, clear advice is needed on ways they can best aid the process.

“Couples should be aware that some modifiable lifestyle factors such as drinking habits may affect their fertility treatment outcomes,” says corresponding author Yufeng Li, MD, of Tongji Hospital, in China. “But how these factors impact the reproductive system still needs more research.”

Read more: The latest in fertility research using rodent models

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