Most people tend to think of the months of pregnancy, the following labour, and the first few weeks or months with the newborn at home, when they imagine becoming parents. They usually don’t even consider that conception might be an issue for them. However, the truth is that many couples struggle with infertility nowadays, which makes their dream to start a family in the near future somewhat far-fetched.
Approximately one in five couples realises that pregnancy does not come as quickly and easy as they had hoped. And, although there are fertility treatments with impressive results that can help patients overcome the source or sources of their infertility (i.e. IVF, egg donation, sperm donor, etc.) and achieve a successful pregnancy, it’s also critical to know what can have an adverse impact on your fertility and IVF success rates if you need a fertility treatment.
Two of the things that have been documented to affect fertility is alcohol and smoking. The fertility specialists at the Cyprus IVF Clinic and Dr. Firdevs can provide you with all the details about the association between alcohol and smoking with fertility and ways you can preserve fertility. Here is also a short list of how both lifestyle habits affect fertility so you get an idea.
Heavy Drinking Reduces the Chance of Having a Healthy Baby
Given that participants to studies that are asked to monitor and record their alcohol consumption do not provide researchers with a 100% accurate report (such studies leave a broad margin for errors), it’s rather difficult to determine the exact effect of alcohol on a person’s fertility.
However, studies do indicate that drinking, even moderate amounts, can reduce the chances of getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. Plus, it may take you much longer to conceive than if you were not drinking alcohol at all, studies conclude. Besides that, even if you do manage to get pregnant, alcohol consumption, especially during the first trimester, can harm the foetus and also increases the risk of birth defects.
For heavy drinkers, the likelihood of having irregular or heavy periods, infertility, still birth, prematurity, and spontaneous abortion is greater. Other potential risks of maternal or paternal alcohol consumption (low levels) include abnormalities with the neuro-development of the embryo. As you can understand, even if you opt for a fertility treatment, your IVF success rates will drop significantly if you continue drinking alcohol.
Alcohol Consumption can Affect your IVF Success Rates
A recent study has shown that 48% of female participants and 58% or their male counterparts drank 1-6 drinks per week. Women that drank no less than 4 drinks each week had reduced their chances of a live birth by 16% compared to women that drank less. The odds of live births were even more lower (21%) among couples where both partners drank more than 4 drinks per week. As for men alone, it turned out that spontaneous abortion was more likely to happen if the male partner consumed alcohol close to the time fertility specialists required a semen sample. It should also be noted that an increase of just one drink per day was found to be linked with fewer oocytes (eggs) retrieved during an IVF treatment. And, with fewer, poorer quality eggs retrieved, the chances of a successful IVF cycle (and overall IVF success rates) and pregnancy drop significantly.
But, that’s not it. Always according to the above-mentioned study, alcohol intake is also evidenced to be related with:
- Problems with embryo transfer.
- About 22% greater chances for failed implantation.
- Issues with the IVF cycle before the transfer, leading to an increased likelihood of failed fertilisation. In fact, drinking increases the odds of failed fertilisation by almost 50%, which severely affects IVF success rates.
- Lower peak E2 (estradiol) levels in women, meaning poor ovarian response, which further complicates things and makes fertilisation even more difficult.
- Poor sperm motility (27% lower than men who don’t consumer beer daily).
- Poor sperm morphology and concentration among men that drank white or red wine weekly (increased odds by 43% and 23% respectively).
Smoking, Fertility & IVF Success Rates
A shocking number of patients that turn to the Cyprus IVF Clinic for fertility testing are active smokers, despite the fact that everybody knows the effects smoking can have on people’s health. It is very common to see women that consider smoking a habit they have to give up only while they are pregnant and when they breastfeed. However, it has been evidenced that smoking can indeed affect either partner’s fertility, particularly the female partner.
Smoking affects female fertility in several ways. In brief :
- The risk of infertility is 2X higher among active smokers than those that don’t smoke. The 7000+ chemicals and toxins sent through the body when you smoke affect your reproductive organs, among others, including your eggs.
- Women that smoke enter their menopause much sooner than their non-smoking counterparts (about 4 years earlier). We can all understand that the sooner you reach menopause, the less chances you have to conceive using your own eggs due to reduced egg production.
- Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and cyanide are some of the chemicals found to destroy eggs. And, once the woman loses her eggs, there is no way to get them back. The only possible way to get pregnant would probably be with the help of an egg donor.
- The chance of miscarriage is increased when you smoke, even if you quit smoking the second you find out you are pregnant.
- Fertility treatments, such as IVF, have high odds of failure. Also, female smokers require increased ovary-stimulating medications during IVF. However, they still have fewer eggs that can be retrieved when the time comes. As a result, patients undergoing IVF that smoke have 30% fewer pregnancy rates than non-smoking IVF patients.
Having said that, it should be noted that the news is not that bad. If you decide to give up smoking well before you try to get pregnant, you will have significantly elevated chances of restoring your fertility and eventually reap the joys of a healthy pregnancy that leads to healthy childbirth. Needless to say, the chances of a successful fertility treatment (should you require it) will increase considerably, too.
If you are trying to get pregnant with no success for more than 6 months, even though you have reduced your alcohol intake and kicked the smoking habit, it may be time to consider IVF. Team Miracle and Dr. Firdevs can help you choose the best fertility treatment and get you on the right track so you taste the pleasures of parenthood the soonest possible.
Just contact us now and allow our friendly patient coordinators schedule your initial consultation with one of the most reputed fertility specialist throughout Europe.