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Men undergoing IVF reduce chances of success if they do this

Alcohol affects fertility by reducing the number of sperm - and altering their size, shape and motility.

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By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

Men undergoing IVF who have just one drink a day reduce the chances of successful fertility treatment by nine percent, a new study reveals.

And women also undergoing treatment who drink the same amount slash their chances of getting pregnant by seven percent.

Alcohol affects fertility by reducing the number of sperm - and altering their size, shape and motility.

It can also prevent proper implantation in the womb, resulting in an increased rate of early loss.

Compared with abstainers, live births fell by nine percent for men who downed more than seven standard drinks a week or 84g of alcohol.

For women who consumed the same amount, pregnancies lessened by seven percent. The findings are based on almost 27,000 people who underwent fertility treatment.

Corresponding author Dr. Yufeng Li, of Tongji Hospital, Shanghai, said: "Couples should be aware some modifiable lifestyle factors such as drinking habits may affect their fertility treatment outcomes.

"But how these factors impact the reproductive system still needs more research to elucidate."

It adds to evidence that couples are struggling to conceive because of lifestyle choices. Sperm counts in men have plunged by 50 percent in the last six decades.

Reproduction specialists have advised them to "play it safe" - by going teetotal. Women are told they should stop drinking, and men to refrain from excessive intake.

The findings in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica suggest abstention is best for both partners.

Li said the toxicity of alcohol has been well established and the safest level of drinking is zero.

Nevertheless, around a quarter of women and four in ten men globally are current drinkers - equivalent to 2.5 billion people.

"In the process of alcohol metabolism, reactive oxygen species (ROS) may form," Li said.

"Excessive production of ROS will give rise to oxidative stress, which was thought to afflict the reproductive system and contribute to endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, unexplained infertility, spontaneous abortion and recurrent pregnancy loss.

"Modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking and habitual alcohol drinking may contribute to production and exposure of ROS, which may partially explain why alcohol intake is associated with impaired IVF outcomes."

The Chinese team pooled data from 16 studies around the world. They identified no connection between drinking coffee and fertility, contrary to some previous analyses.

"Alcohol consumption is negatively associated with pregnancy rate of IVF treatment when women drink more than seven drinks per week," Li said.

"It is negatively associated with live birth rate when men drink more than seven drinks per week."

He added: "There was no association between caffeine consumption and pregnancy or live birth rate."

A British study found women wanting to become pregnant are as likely to succeed by giving up alcohol than by attending a fertility clinic.

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