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Alcohol linked to reduced conception chances

Wednesday June 9th 2021

A woman's fertility may be temporarily reduced by moderate to heavy alcohol intake during the second half of the menstrual cycle, according to a new analysis published today.

More than half of women tend to drink alcohol at least once a month, so the potential impact was investigated by a team led by Dr Kira Taylor, associate professor of epidemiology and population health at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, USA.

They note that difficulty conceiving is experienced by 12% of couples in the USA. The effect of alcohol on fecundability - the chance of conceiving during a single menstrual cycle - is still debated.

The team used information from a large study of women aged 19 to 41 years, followed for up to 19 months. Analysis showed that even moderate alcohol intake, three to six drinks a week, as well as heavy drinking, more than six drinks a week, reduced fecundability by about 44%. No differences were seen for different types of alcohol.

Details appear in Human Reproduction. The authors write: "Moderate to heavy drinking during the luteal phase, and heavy drinking in the ovulatory window, could disturb the delicate sequence of hormonal events, affecting chances of a successful conception."

Dr Taylor said: “We found that heavy drinking during any phase of the menstrual cycle was significantly associated with a reduced probability of conception compared to non-drinkers. This is important because some women who are trying to conceive might believe it is ‘safe’ to drink during certain parts of the menstrual cycle."

Anwar, M. Y. et al. The association between alcohol intake and fecundability during menstrual cycle phases. Human Reproduction 9 June 2021; doi: 10.1093/humrep/deab121

[abstract]

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | North America | Nursing & Midwifery | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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