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Can Alcohol Affect the Ability To Conceive While Undergoing Infertility Treatment?

Can Alcohol Affect the Ability To Conceive While Undergoing Infertility Treatment?

At Fertility Centers of New England, we do everything we can to help our patients achieve successful, healthy pregnancies. One part of that is identifying the right infertility treatment to fit each patient’s unique needs. Additionally, our team supports patients throughout their journey to parenthood by answering questions and providing advice. One question that my patients often ask me is, “Can alcohol affect the ability to conceive while undergoing IVF?” 

A study published in Human Reproduction in June 2019 seems to reassure that a few drinks per week will not affect one’s ability to conceive while undergoing IUI or IVF treatments. This was a large Danish study of 1,708 women who had undergone 1,511 intrauterine insemination cycles, 2,870 IVF cycles, and 1,355 frozen embryo transfer cycles. The groups were stratified by known factors that decrease fertility, such as smoking cigarettes and high BMI. 

Patients were placed in three categories based on their alcohol consumption: 

  • 1 to 2 drinks per week
  • 3 to 7 drinks per week 
  • Greater than 7 drinks per week 

Does Alcohol Impact Infertility Treatment Success Rates? 

Patients in the low (1 to 2 drinks per week) and moderate (3 to 7 drinks per week) drinking groups did not show a decreased chance of conception while undergoing IUI or IVF treatments. The authors of the study feel that drinking up to one alcoholic drink per day does not have any adverse effect on success rates during IUI or IVF cycles. 

Although there was no clear adverse effect on achieving pregnancy among women who had more than one alcoholic drink per day, the number of patients in these groups was very small. The study’s authors felt less confident in stating that IUI or IVF success rates among women in the high alcohol consumption group would not be affected. Drinking up to one alcoholic drink per day while undergoing treatment does not affect success rates. 

However, as a patient approaches IUI or egg retrieval, we recommend ceasing all alcohol intake due to possible risks to the early embryo and fetus. If you have more questions like can alcohol affect your ability to conceive while undergoing IVF, please get in touch with us. 

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