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Awaiting moderation 62146 Article

Factors affecting fertility: alcohol


Research has shown that drinking alcohol causes a decrease in sperm count, an increase in abnormal sperm and a lower proportion of motile sperm.
Alcohol also affects a man's fertility by changing his hormone levels because it can alter the way testosterone is produced and then released. Because alcohol affects the liver (the organ which normally clears out any excess hormones), a man who drinks alcohol may accumulate small amounts of female hormones (men produce 'female' hormones, just as women produce testosterone). These female hormones can lower sperm production and potency.
In addition, alcohol stops absorption of nutrients like zinc which is one of the most important minerals for male fertility. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the sperm. Adequate levels of zinc are needed to make the outer layer and tail and are therefore essential for healthy sperm. If you reduce the amount of zinc in a man's diet, his sperm count goes down.
Finally, alcohol reduces fertility in mammals, and studies show that women who drink heavily may stop ovulating and menstruating, and take longer to conceive.

How Much is Too Much?
A study of 430 women demonstrated that drinking more than 5 units of alcohol (equal to five glasses of wine) a week could stop women conceiving. Researchers discovered that the women in the survey who drank less than 5 units a week were twice as likely to get pregnant within six months compared with those who drank more. A study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that women should be 'warned to avoid alcohol when trying to conceive'.
The fact is that drinking any alcohol can reduce your fertility by half- and the more you drink, the worse the impact on your chances of conception.
Studies have also shown a strong relationship between alcohol and miscarriages. Women who have a drink every day have a much higher risk of miscarriage (2.5 times more) than non-drinkers. The same study found that if the woman was a drinker and a smoker her chance of a miscarriage was four times higher.


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