A couple planning a child (in recent years, men too) are actively prohibited from alcohol. Women are generally advised not to touch alcohol. Because the supply of eggs is created only once - and then only spent. Well, in men, all this affects sperm and sexual function in general. And although drinking is really harmful - and we support it! - but categorical statements must be checked. And then what now, and you will not raise a glass of champagne to the chimes?
MedAboutMe, with the help of experts, understands what alcohol makes female and male reproductive cells.
Where do the eggs go?
The ovarian reserve in girls is created even during their intrauterine development. This is the main difference in ontogenesis of female germ cells from male ones: the oocyte supply is not renewed.
Oocytes, from which later, with a successful coincidence of circumstances, eggs appear, at first more than a million, but by the time the girl is born, their supply decreases, and by the beginning of menstruation it drops several times. Nature gets rid of defective cells.
When the oocytes run out, menopause begins. This process cannot be stopped or reversed. So these cells are present in the body and are influenced by everything - from a healthy lifestyle, and diseases, and bad habits. Well, alcohol, of course. And how harmful is it for them?
Alcohol and female fertility
Alcohol is really harmful to ovulation and the ability to conceive and bear a child. Studies have shown that frequent alcohol consumption disrupts the menstrual cycle and the production of hormones that "command" ovulation. Well, when carrying a child, alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome of the fetus - gross malformations.
However, most scientific work focuses on the harmful effects of alcohol on the ability to conceive and bear a healthy child - but not on the eggs. And we are usually talking about significant and / or regular doses or alcoholism.
Alcohol and eggs
Do these "degrees" and toxic metabolic products penetrate into the ovary and follicles, where the eggs mature?
If we look at it from the point of view of physiology - yes, of course. About 1/5 of the alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream in the upper gastrointestinal tract, with the remainder in the intestines.
Ethanol easily penetrates even unchanged into tissues and liquids - with the bloodstream. And there is no reason that would stop it from penetrating the ovarian tissue and follicles.
But there have been no studies of ethanol levels in follicular fluid. We still do not know how much alcohol can penetrate into the ovaries and how it affects what there. And even massive retrospective analyzes of data are not particularly helpful here: they are based on surveys of women with children, and they always have a place for the subjective factor and simple forgetfulness.
However, there are statistics for countries where the consumption of weak alcoholic beverages and wine is part of the cultural tradition. And there the number of newborns with congenital alcohol syndrome or other abnormalities that could be associated with alcohol is not higher than among other nations. On the other hand, experts (JAMA, 2017) say that in a number of European countries with the habitual use of wine by women (France, Italy, Spain), the number of children with manifestations of alcohol syndrome, which is not so clearly expressed, is higher. These children may appear healthy, but they have problems in the following areas:
body coordination; behavior; training; attention and concentration; logical thinking.
So can a planning woman drink?
Elena Berezovskaya, a medical researcher, obstetrician-gynecologist and author of 11 books on women's health, does not recommend that women consume alcohol even in small doses, at least at the planning stage. There are no data on safe doses, so it is best not to drink at all.
Sperm are more sensitive to alcohol
It is much easier to study the effect of alcohol on semen: you just need to take it for analysis. And yes, these tests confirm that ethanol alters the structure of sperm and causes defects in the structure of the sperm. This can lead to impaired fetal development.
One good drinking party is enough to get 20% less healthy sperm in your semen.
If you drink a little, but regularly, the reserves of zinc in the body, an important component of spermatogenesis, decrease.
In addition, even moderate doses of ethyl alcohol can seriously impair male libido and reproductive health. A classic symptom of alcohol addiction is decreased sex drive. The outlook is even worse - infertility and prostate cancer.
So, it is absolutely impossible to celebrate the New Year with glasses in hand? What dose will affect sperm quality?
Expert Commentary James Keith Fisher, Urologist, USA
In the United States, according to a study, alcohol is the cause of one third of cases of both female and male infertility. And it has already been calculated what doses affect the quality of sperm.
Five servings of alcohol (5 cans of beer, 5 servings of 40 ml of spirits) after 2 hours inhibit spermatogenesis. 25 ml of alcohol inhibits semen production. 14 servings of 40 ml of strong alcohol (or 14 cans of beer) per week dramatically reduce the secretion of testosterone, the number of healthy and mobile male germ cells to almost zero. The chance of fertilization is extremely low. Even the testes begin to shrink in size due to the products of the metabolism of ethyl alcohol. Studies have proven the effect of alcohol in the embryonic stage of development: it changes DNA and causes health problems in offspring.
In addition to the above, alcoholic beverages are very high in calories: and being overweight is one of the factors that is considered a "sperm killer".
Non-alcoholic New Year?
In general, yes, experts advise planning couples not to drink at all. Although small doses do not seem to harm (or harm has not been proven), being nervous and reproaching yourself with "drunken conception" is not the best condition for future parents. So it's worth either switching to non-alcoholic cocktails, or postponing plans for conception.
The data of French scientists show that normal spermatogenesis in men is restored (with the rest of health) after 3 months of refusal from alcohol.
There is no such data for women. But at least you shouldn't combine "work on conception" and holidays. If only because it is almost impossible to detect pregnancy in the first two weeks - and drinking at this stage is not even recommended a little.
The good news: The Mediterranean diet helps fertility. So on the New Year's table for planning couples, there should be dishes from fresh vegetables (with olive oil) and fruits, seafood and sea fish, olives, and for dessert - dairy products, cheeses, nuts and dried fruits. Here is their positive effect on the conception of a healthy child has been proven for sure!