Page last updated: Aug 2019
Low-to-moderate alcohol consumption and success in fertility treatment

A study from Denmark investigated whether female weekly alcohol intake and binge drinking impact the chance of a successful fertility treatment.
The cohort study included 1,708 women and potential partners undergoing fertility treatment at the public fertility clinic, Aarhus University Hospital, between January 2010 and August 2015. Exposure to weekly average alcohol intake was assessed from questionnaires completed by participants before the start of treatment.
The associations between a weekly average alcohol intake and medically assisted reproduction outcomes were evaluated, adjusting for female age, body mass index, cigarette smoking, coffee consumption, chronic diseases, level of education, and cycle number. Low-to-moderate average weekly alcohol intake was not statistically significantly associated with the chance of achieving a clinical pregnancy or a live birth following intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization/ /intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) treatment cycles. Compared to women abstaining from alcohol, the adjusted relative risks for achieving a live birth among those reporting 1-2, 3-7, and >7 drinks per week were 1.00 (95% CI 0.66; 1.53), 1.20 (0.76; 1.91), and 1.48 (0.56; 3.93), respectively, among women initiating IUI treatments. Among those initiating IVF/ICSI treatments, the chance for achieving a live birth among those reporting 1-2, 3-7, and >7 drinks per week were 1.00 (0.83; 1.21), 0.95 (0.75; 1.20), and 0.89 (0.53; 1.51), respectively. The chance of achieving a live birth in the first IUI or IVF/ICSI treatment cycle was unrelated to the number of binge drinking episodes in the month preceding baseline.
The researchers conclude that low-to-moderate weekly alcohol drinking and binge drinking were not associated with the chance of achieving a clinical pregnancy or a live birth among women and couples undergoing medically assisted reproduction treatments. They add, however, that the risk of non-differential exposure misclassification, confounding, or chance cannot be ruled out. In addition, due to the low number of women reporting an intake of >7 drinks/week, the potential effect of high alcohol consumption should be interpreted with caution. They add that although it remains unsettled if and how alcohol affects female reproduction, their results indicate that is not necessary to abstain from alcohol when striving for a successful outcome following fertility treatment.
Source: Low-to-moderate alcohol consumption and success in fertility treatment: a Danish cohort study. Lyngsø J, Ramlau-Hansen CH, Bay B, Ingerslev HJ, Strandberg-Larsen K, Kesmodel US. Hum Reprod. 2019 Jun 26. pii: dez050.

doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez050
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