A new study on alcohol consumption and male fertility carried out in an Italian Fertlity Clinic and published by Andrology has found moderate alcohol intake is linked with higher semen volume, sperm concentration, and total sperm count.
In response to the research, Dr Bart Kuczera a consultant gynaecologist and leading fertility expert with Beacon CARE Fertility in Dublin said that while it appeared moderate drinking may be risk-free in terms of measuring sperm count he warned alcohol should not be used as a means to try to boost a low sperm count.
Dr Kuczera said: “This is surprising but is a reasonably conducted study – single centre, single practitioner interviewing the patients. There is also a relatively large sample size (323 men patients) compared to some other published studies. Like all such studies, it relies on self-classification by the patient and therefore potentially at risk of some inaccuracies.
“In terms of elevated sperm count and other seminal parameters, including semen volume, more studies need to be done to confirm this as it is contrary to other studies.
"Also, because sperm count is raised, it does not follow that fertility is improved; just as low sperm count does not necessarily mean infertility – many fertile men have a low sperm count.
Dr Kuczera also said there are plausible scientific explanations for both a positive and negative influence of alcohol on sperm count but what mattered was the real effect.
"Is that constant across the population, or just like other factors that affect people differently, are there individual mechanisms that interplay so that one person may be affected differently to another. We don’t know.
“I’ve mentioned some limitations; another is that this study was done only on infertile couples – not the general population. The outcome of the effect on fertilisation or fertility treatment was not reported.
“What we all agree on, however, is that heavy to binge drinking does have a deleterious effect, but moderate drinking may be risk-free in terms of measuring sperm count – not fertility per se – but the effects may be individually related and if a couple has a fertility issue, in general moderation, say 8 units per week, should not give cause for concern; but I would not use alcohol as a means to try to boost a low sperm count!”
Read more about the study here
- Digital Desk