Alcohol consumption has been shown to affect both foetal health and pregnancy. In a study published in the journal Zygote, scientists from Cyprus assessed whether alcohol consumption affects oogenesis.
Antral follicle count (a measure of the ovarian reserve), maturation level of oocytes including morphological assessment and number of metaphase I (MI), metaphase II (MII) and germinal vesicle (GV) stage oocytes were obtained from young women (age < 30 years old) .
In total, 20 healthy women who were social drinkers and 36 healthy women who did not consume alcohol were involved in this study. Women in both study and control groups were undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation.
The antral follicle count and the number and quality of the oocytes retrieved were evaluated and recorded. In total, 635 antral follicles, 1098 follicles and 1014 oocytes with 820 MII, 72 MI and 78 GV stage oocytes were collected from the social drinkers. In the control group, 628 antral follicles, 1136 follicles and 1085 oocytes with 838 MII, 93 MI and 102 GV stage oocytes were evaluated.
The results of this study showed that the antral follicle count was very similar in both groups. The number of oocytes and MII stage oocytes was slightly higher in the control group, although it was not a significant difference.
This study demonstrates that although the consumption of alcohol may have adverse effects post-implantation, it may not have a solid effect during oogenesis in young women. The results of this study are especially important in clinical settings as some women who are social drinkers undergo in vitro fertilization treatments.
Source: Ozbakir B, Tulay P. Should fertile women quit drinking alcohol to produce better quality oocytes? Zygote. 2021 Apr;29(2):176-178.