Infertility & Alcohol Intake

I’ve had a few questions this week from men and women asking about when it’s ok to  drink while you’re trying to get pregnant. And how much can you drink?

So here’s some facts for us to consider when thinking about guidelines around infertility and drinking alcohol:

Male Infertility & Alcohol 

  • Alcohol is linked with testicular atrophy, decreased libido and decreased sperm count
  • Alcohol decreases semen volume, poor sperm morphology and motility
  • More alcohol in his system means more oxidative damage to his sperm
  • 10 or more drinks a week is associated with 2-5 times more miscarriages

Female Infertility & Alcohol

  • Women who get hangovers are more likely to be infertile than women who don’t
  • The amount that women can drink in a week isn’t clear
  • One drink a week to 5 units a day can have various effects including increasing the time to pregnancy, decreasing probability of conception rate by over 50% and decreasing implantation rate, increasing both the risk of spontaneous abortion and of fetal death and causing anovulation, luteal phase dysfunction and abnormal blastocyst development
  • 10+ drinks a week associated with 2-3 times greater risk of miscarriage
  • Alcohol consumption in the week prior to conception is associated with an increased rate of miscarriage
  • There is no amount of alcohol that’s considered safe during pregnancy

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is characterized by physical defects, brain and central nervous system problems, & social and behavioural issues


  • Enters your bloodstream and reaches your developing fetus by crossing the placenta
  • Causes higher blood alcohol concentrations in your developing baby than in your body because a fetus metabolizes alcohol slower than an adult does
  • Interferes with the delivery of oxygen and optimal nutrition to your baby’s developing tissues and organs, including the brain

After conception – when does Implantation happen?

Implantation occurs from 6-12 days after ovulation. Some sources say the most likely day is Day 9.

So when can a woman actually “safely” drink while she’s trying?

  1. Theoretically you could drink from start of period to 6 days after ovulation. So that still gives you about 3 weeks a month you could drink
  2. Definitely stick to less than 10 drinks a week. A glass of wine some nights might help to calm nerves and get you “in the mood.
  3. He should stick to less than 10 drinks a week as well.
  4. Ask him to cut back around time of ovulation so his sperm swims straight
  5. If both of you can cut back without impacting your mental health, then that’s good. But remember, our motto is “have a baby without the crazy.” And if you’re on this journey a long time, that’s a long time to go without alcohol if that’s part of your social life. I get it.

Dr. Whitney Young, Naturopathic Doctor – Fertility Doc at Rooted

Book your Free Fertility Assessment with me to discuss your fertility and get your questions answered.


Mayo Clinic – Fetal Alchohol Syndrome




Can we drink while we are trying?

When you struggle with fertility issues, it seems like people are always asking “when are you going to have kids?”

If you avoid alcohol while you are trying, people might assume you are pregnant and ask you about it. And then you get the painful reminder, yet again, that you aren’t pregnant yet.

Drinking and infertility

So what’s the research say about alcohol and fertility? Should you really avoid it?

It’s always up to you, of course. You might like a glass of wine now and then but here is what the research says:


  • Alcohol is linked with testicular atrophy, decreased libido and decreased sperm count
  • Decreased semen volume
  • Poor sperm morphology and motility
  • Oxidative stress has been found to systemically increase with alcohol consumption


Women who experienced hangovers were more likely to be infertile than women who did not have hangovers. The amount to cause the hangover was not clear

One drink a week to 5 drinks a day can have various effects including:

  • Increasing the time to pregnancy
  • Decreasing probability of conception rate by over 50%
  • Decreasing implantation rate


Bottom Line

So, ideally, avoiding alcohol for both men and women is a good idea while you are trying. If you do decide to drink, try to keep it in moderation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news – but there you have it.

We love working with couples and fertility, consider booking a free meet the doctor consult to see how we can help.