Sobriety for superior semen


Pregnant mothers who drink alcohol may be reducing the number of grandchildren their sons might provide them in the future. Seriously.

Dr. Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen, senior researcher at the department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital (Denmark, of course) and clinical associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, told a news briefing at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome, “Our study shows that there is an association between drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (4-5 drinks per week) during pregnancy and lower sperm concentrations in sons. However, because this is an observational study we cannot say for certain that the alcohol causes the lower sperm concentrations. It is possible that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the foetal semen-producing tissue in the testes - and thereby on semen quality in later life - but our study is the first of its kind and more research in this area is needed…”

Doctors in Denmark found that moms who drank 4-5 drinks per week while pregnant had sons with a sperm concentration, measured 20 years later, a third lower than that of men who were not exposed to alcohol in utero. A drink is defined as a small glass of wine, a beer, or a shot of spirits.

These men had an average sperm count of 25 million per milliliter, while the sons least exposed had an average of 40 million per milliliter. After adjusting for variables and leveling out the field, they found the sons in the high alcohol group had an average sperm concentration approximately 32% lower than their “sober” counterparts.

Moms weren’t the only ones subjected to such scrutiny. Dads were in too. “We investigated the association between fathers’ total alcohol intake and semen quality in the sons and found that paternal alcohol was not associated with semen volume or sperm concentration. This finding suggests that the observed associations between maternal alcohol consumption and sons’ semen quality are not confounded by lifestyle factors that are shared by a couple, such as smoking,” said Dr. Ramlau-Hansen. So men are off the hook for now.

She concluded, “If exposure to alcohol in foetal life causes poor semen quality in adult life, we would expect that populations with many pregnant women drinking, possibly heavily, in pregnancy would have lower fertility in comparison with populations of where pregnant women do not drink.”

So moms, off the sauce. Future generations are seriously depending on it.

Source: ESHRE, Medical News Today


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