Q: Does wine consumption affect fertility?—Beth, Wichita, Kan.
A: There are many factors that may impact the ability to reproduce, but high levels of alcohol consumption have been shown to have a negative impact on fertility, while other studies have found that moderate consumption may not have an impact in men or in women.
Dr. Michael Cackovic, a maternal fetal medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says that reduced fertility was reported in a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study found that women beginning IVF treatment who drank at least four drinks per week were 16 percent less likely to have a live birth than those who drank less than that or not at all.
Another study published earlier this year in Human Reproduction collected data from women office workers aged 19 to 41 and found that those who consumed three or more drinks per week experienced reduced odds of conception.
But Dr. Brooke Hodes-Wertz, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and reproductive endocrinologist at the NYU Langone Fertility Center, says the picture is still murky: While some studies show harmful effects, others have found that moderate drinking may improve the chances of conception.
"When looking at wine in particular it’s interesting, because studies have suggested some beneficial health effects of wine drinking and fertility," she told Wine Spectator. "There was one large self-reported Danish study that showed shorter time to pregnancy in moderate wine drinkers compared to beer and liquor drinkers." She adds that these results should interpreted with caution as wine drinkers may have other factors such as lifestyle behaviors that may help to conceive quicker.
Consult your doctor about including wine as part of a healthy lifestyle while trying to conceive.—Shawn Zylberberg