Q&A: Does Alcohol Hurt Sperm?

Is it bad for my husband to drink while we’re trying to conceive?
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ByErin van Vuuren
Updated
Mar 2017
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Your hubby can’t give your baby fetal alcohol syndrome, but there is some evidence  alcohol can mess with his sperm. What happens? Well, according to a 1994 study on rats, male alcohol use prior to conception might hurt your chances of getting pregnant or lead to children that are smaller, have compromised immune systems, or are more prone to behavioral or hormonal disturbances. Another rat study links male drinking prior to conception to hyperactive children. On the other hand, we aren’t rats and these studies don’t necessarily mean that alcohol has the same effect on humans.

The conclusion? Talk to your doc and your husband, and then decide together whether he should cut back. Occasional drinking isn’t generally considered to be a problem, but regular (two drinks per day, or five drinks in one sitting at least once per month) or heavy drinking (more than what’s listed above) could be risky. If he drinks regularly, this might be a good time to ease off the bottle anyway— you certainly don’t want a tipsy husband taking care of a baby!

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