Should Men Quit Drinking Before Trying to Conceive?
More and more research is being brought to light about the importance of male fertility in fertilization, implantation, healthy embryos, and an overall healthy pregnancy. Up to 40% of infertility is due to male factor, and many of these negatively influencing conditions are easily altered through basic diet and lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, marijuana use, smoking cigarettes, hot tubs, and a BMI over 25 have been shown to have a negative influence on sperm health. Alcohol is also a big one.
One study says men should quit or limit alcohol for 6 months before conception for baby’s heart health. This meta analysis analyzed 55 studies that showed that alcohol exposures were significantly associated with the risk of total congenital heart defects in offspring. Having 5 drinks in one session showed a 52% higher likelihood that the baby would have a congenital heart defect, a condition that affects 1% of babies born, or 40,000 babies in the United States alone. Then the question remains what constitutes as too much drinking? I reason that if 5 drinks have that significant of an effect on sperm quality, then alcohol in general must have a negative impact no matter what the amount.
Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to make testosterone and instead speeds up the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, interfering with the body’s ability to make good quality sperm cells. The breakdown product of alcohol (acetaldehyde) is toxic to sperm. All of these processes can lower sperm count and decrease sex drive.
Fertility is holistic, meaning we have to look at the health of the entire body. Everything you are putting into your body is going to have either a positive or negative effect. But the great news is that damage due to drinking or unhealthy lifestyle is easily repairable. Spermatogenesis is a process that takes about 3 months to complete, meaning anything that you did in the past 3 months will reflect in sperm health. This means that you can see dramatic results in just 3 months of work. Studies show that acupuncture can effectively increase sperm production, increase the percentage of healthy sperm (morphology and genetic), improve sperm motility, improve the levels of hormones responsible for fertility, and increase the rate of pregnancy when used in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology (IUI, IVF).
When it comes to fertility, knowledge is always power. Knowing what you can do to help improve the chances of a healthy natural conception, IUI, or IVF cycle can make all the difference in the world. If you or your partner have any questions about improving your chances of a healthy conception, call 604-678-8600 to book a free 15 minute phone consultation or your initial appointment. Online booking is also available.