Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Fertility?


The answer is not cut-and-dried, and it may surprise you.

Recently, I attended a friend’s milestone birthday party. It was a wonderful way to end the summer, celebrating with friends. However, our friend’s husband is an amateur mixologist, whose favourite base drink includes tequila. After one, yes only one, mixed drink, my skin was flush and burning, and my sinuses stuffed up.

It’s now four days post birthday bash. I stuck to my one drink that afternoon, but I now have a full-blown sinus infection, plus a host of other minor ailments. Do I blame the alcohol I consumed that day? Do I think I’ve done some long-term damage?

Well, the answer is more complex than simply a yes or no.

Doctors and researchers are not sure exactly how alcohol affects each body system, including fertility and reproductive systems. Health boards around the world have set thresholds for alcohol consumption defining what is ‘safe’, moderate, heavy and binge drinking. Some health boards have flip-flopped on drinking during pregnancy, from zero tolerance, to minor amounts being ok at the end of pregnancy.

No health boards seem to consider individual variability and how that may contribute to the picture. Back to my weekend party, I am of Asian descent and alcohol is essentially poison. After less than a half shot of spirit or quarter glass of beer, and my entire body breaks out in red splotches. It’s powerful stuff for me.

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, our safe and general advice is to avoid alcohol. Same advice during pregnancy. And, yes, the same advice applies to men.

We recently reviewed a short article about alcohol and your fertility. While we do not agree with everything in the article, it’s worth the short read.

If you would like to discuss your fertility with one of our health professionals, including health and lifestyle concerns, please click below or call us at 416-532-9094.

Female FertilityJonah Arnold