The Effects Of Alcohol & Drug-Abuse

On Fertility

Today we are highlighting the importance of National Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week (13th May – 19th May). It serves as a reminder that alcohol and drug use while trying to conceive and during pregnancy can be harmful to a mother and her child. 

Drinking alcohol can reduce both men’s and women’s fertility. Even drinking occasionally can minimise the chance of pregnancy.

Heavy drinking increases the time it takes to get pregnant and reduces the chances of having a healthy baby.

We sat down with Dr Olarogun of HART Fertility Clinic and asked the most critical questions about how alcohol can affect your fertility.  

  1. Why is alcohol not advised when one is trying to conceive?
    • It is not advised as there is a risk of fetal abnormality. Excessive drinking lowers the chances of conceiving naturally or at all.
  2. If someone is exceptionally healthy but enjoy an occasional glass of wine, what is the recommended volume, should they be trying to conceive?
    • This isn’t easy to quantify. If abstinence is possible, then that should be advised, otherwise not more than two alcoholic units a week.
  3. Does alcohol or drug-use affect the quality of both sperm and egg quality?
    • Yes, in excessive amounts.
  4. How does alcohol consumption or drug-abuse affect men?
    • There is evidence that excessive alcohol consumption affects the quality of the semen as well as performance.
  5. How does alcohol consumption or drug-abuse affect women?
    • It can affect a women’s chances in numerous ways, from sub-fertility to pregnancy complications right through till neonatal (newborn babies) problems.
  6. What is Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
    • FASD is caused by alcohol consumption in pregnancy. Symptoms include alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the neonate (newborn babies), learning disabilities, hyperactivity, longterm development of chronic illnesses, and anti-social behaviour.
  7. Is it true that if you binge-drink, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, small birth weight, or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
    • Absolutely
  8. When it comes to intended parents or egg donors, does alcohol intake or drug-use affect pregnancy outcome if an intended parent is using donor eggs?
    • Yes, it does. Effects take place during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  9. Do egg donors need to abstain from drinking alcohol and or drug-use altogether while going through treatment?
    • Yes, egg donors must abstain from recreational drug use to donate with us. And, they must limit alcohol intake while they are donating to a couple.
  10. What lifestyle advice would you give to intended parents who are looking to go through Artificial Reproductive Treatment (ART)?
    • We would recommend leading a healthy lifestyle. This includes a nutritious eating plan as well as a regular exercise regime. We advise patients to practice yoga and meditation to alleviate the stress that comes with fertility struggles.

We have incredible external partners that we provide to our patients, such as a fertility coach, dietitians, yoga and meditation instructors, a Sophrology expert, and so much more. Visit our website to find out more about our experts.

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