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Want children? More beer, less coffee

October 20th 2014 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson

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A pint a day might be exactly what the doctor ordered for couples trying to get pregnant, a study in the US has found

Good news for the late-night socialisers but bad news for the crack of dawn risers as a study carried about by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, has found that caffeine may reduce male fertility while a pint of beer may in fact aid it.

Looking at a total of 105 men whose wives or girlfriends were undergoing IVF at Massachusetts General Hospital between 2007 and 2013, the study revealed that men who drank two or more cups of strong coffee a day had just a one in five chance of becoming fathers through IVF. On the other hand, those who drank less than a cup had their chances of fatherhood rise up nearly 52 per cent. The study also found that men who drank at least 22g of alcohol per day (three units) were more than twice as likely to have children through IVF than those who were teetotal.

Researchers were unsure why caffeine and alcohol had such a noticeable effect on birth rates when it seemed to have no impact on the quality of the prospective fathers’ sperm. What was deduced however, was that caffeine may be harming sperm at a molecular level and it’s clear effect on reducing IVF treatment needs further exploration.

With regards to alcohol consumption, scientists such as Dr Allan Pacey, from Sheffield University have argued that ‘moderate social drinking (NHS recommends 3-4 units) can be of benefit for couples trying to conceive either naturally or during assisted conception because it helps to reduce stress.’

In the aftermath of the findings lead author Dr Anatte Karmon, an obstetrician, Massachusetts General Hospital has been clear to advise that ultimately men should keep their lifestyle as healthy as possible if they’re hoping to become fathers - ”anything that is good for your heart health is also good for your fertility,” said Dr Karmon,“so do physical exercise and eat a well-balanced diet.”


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