Alcohol and your son's fertility

accreditation
The researchers found that if mothers had drunk 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant, the sperm concentration of their sons -measured about 20 years later - was a third lower than in men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb.

The study by scientists was presented at the conference of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome. A drink was measured as 12 grams of alcohol, equivalent to one 330ml can of beer, one small (120ml) glass of wine or one shot of spirits.

"It is possible that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the foetal semen-producing tissue in the testes - and thereby on semen quality in later life - but our study is the first of its kind, and more research within this area is needed before any causal link can be established or safe drinking limits proposed," she said in a report of her study.

After adjusting for various confounding factors, the scientists found the sons in the group most exposed to alcohol had an average sperm concentration that was around 32% lower than that in the least exposed group.

The World Health Organization defines a "normal" level of sperm concentration as being approximately 20 million/ml or more, but the chances of conception go up with increased sperm concentration up to 40 million/ml.

"If further research shows that maternal alcohol consumption is a cause of reduced semen concentration in male offspring, then we are a bit closer to an explanation of why semen quality may have decreased during the last decades and why it differs between populations," said Ramlau-Hansen.

The researchers also investigated whether fathers' alcohol consumption had any effect, but found no link. 

What are your thoughts on drinking during pregnancy?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 473 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 2630 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 527 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.21
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.30
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
18.74
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.24
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.5%
Platinum
1,010.13
+0.6%
Palladium
1,669.41
+0.1%
Gold
1,927.47
-0.1%
Silver
23.71
-0.9%
Brent Crude
87.47
+1.5%
Top 40
74,899
+0.6%
All Share
80,939
+0.5%
Resource 10
78,348
+0.2%
Industrial 25
104,037
+0.8%
Financial 15
16,238
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE