A new analysis suggests that caffeine consumption has little impact on the success of fertility treatments, but confirms the negative influence of alcohol.
Drinking coffee is unlikely to affect the chances of those trying to conceive through IVF – but alcohol significantly reduces fertility, a new study shows.
A meta-analysis, published this week in the monthly review Acta Obstetricia and Gynecologica Scandinavica, found that alcohol consumption among women was associated with a 7% decrease in pregnancy rate after fertility treatments when weekly consumption was greater than 84 g (about seven standard drinks).
Men consuming more than 84g per week were also associated with a 9% decrease in live birth rate after fertility treatments.
However, the study found no association between women’s caffeine consumption and pregnancy or live birth rate after fertility treatments.
Fertility specialist, Associate Professor Alex Polyakov said newsGP this confirmed existing research.
“We’ve known for a long time that alcohol affects natural pregnancy, and this research is consistent with that,” he said.
“It shows that more than seven standard drinks per week reduces the chances of IVF success and so my advice is not to consume alcohol on a daily basis.
“There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, so it’s best to abstain.
“However, if you had a reception or a wedding and drank a glass of champagne, it is unlikely to affect your fertility treatment.”
The analysis included results from Brazil, the United States, Denmark, Saudi Arabia and Italy, with a total of 26,922 women and/or their partners who underwent fertility treatment.
Professor Polyakov appreciated that men were included in the research.
“It’s interesting that men were included,” he said.
“I often see the men in a couple not reducing their alcohol intake during fertility treatment, so this research may add to the knowledge that we want sperm to be as healthy as possible.”
Dr. Wendy Burton, Chair of RACGP Special Interests on Antenatal and Postnatal Care, said newsGP people undergoing fertility treatments are often highly motivated.
“I find that couples who are engaged in the IVF process have already maximized their lifestyle modifications to do everything in their power to conceive without intervention,” she said.
“My fellow gynecologists then remind them of the importance of continuing to do this and drinking very little, especially women.” They may have a small amount of alcohol for a special occasion [but] this is a very small subset of preconception couples.
When it comes to caffeine and fertility, Australian recommendations are to limit coffee to three or four a day; however, there was controversy in 2020 when an expert recommended “there was no safe level of consumption”.
Professor Polyakov said that the issue of caffeine often comes up in conversations.
“With caffeine, there does not appear to be an increased risk of failure with IVF, but previous studies show that there is a slightly increased risk of miscarriage rate if you consume more than 1 to 2 cups a day, especially in early pregnancy. ‘ he said.
“There is caffeine in chocolate, tea and soft drinks in varying amounts, but it is still low compared to coffee. You would have to eat a lot of chocolate to get the same amount as a coffee.
The authors of this new meta-analysis write that “caffeine may act as a non-selective antagonist of adenosine in the human body and…induce increased excretion of catecholamines in the mother and fetus, which may lead to uteroplacental vasoconstriction and hypoxia”.
Dr. Burton says most women already consume less caffeine during pregnancy.
“I advise that a small amount of caffeine be considered safe,” she said.
“It is recommended to limit the amount of caffeine you have to 300 mg per day. That’s about what would be in two espressos or four cups of instant coffee or six cups of tea.
“From time to time concerns are raised about caffeine, but I’m comfortable with a small intake and I always take new research that contradicts old research on board, but I personally try not to panic, and I encourage sensible, thoughtful approaches to all of these issues. .’
Professor Polyakov agrees that moderation is key.
“Most women going through IVF treatment are very motivated and have been trying to get pregnant for a long time, so they’ve read about alcohol and caffeine,” he said.
“The advice is to avoid alcohol and limit caffeine, especially in early pregnancy, but some caffeine in moderation is okay.”
Log in below to join the conversation.
alcohol caffeine IVF pregnancy
newsGP weekly poll
Do you believe doctors bring “billions of dollars” to Medicare every year?