“sperm” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moderate Drinkers Had Higher Sperm Count

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“sperm” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Elena Ricci, ScD, PhD
Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico,

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The role of alcohol drinking on male fertility is still controversial. A negative association between alcohol intake and semen quality has been suggested by some authors, although other studies did not confirm this finding. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a cohort study on subfertile couples, and found that men with a moderate alcohol intake (4 to 7 units of ethanol per week – 1unit=12.5 grams ) had higher semen volume and sperm total count than men with both lower and higher intake.

Abstainers had a better sperm concentration, but the small size of this group prevented us from drawing any significant conclusions. Alcohol was not associated to sperm motility. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: All men undergoing assisted reproduction should be advised to limit alcohol consumption, but not to avoid it.

I draw attention on two facts: first, we could not analyze the role of heavy or binge drinking, which are, in other studies, consistently associated to detrimental effects on semen quality.

Second, our study was conducted in a Fertility Clinic, then these findings only apply in similar settings.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Sperm quality is not, per se, a predictor of successful ART. We need to know whether male alcohol intake is related, or not, to embryo development, clinical pregnancy and livebirth. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We all agree that heavy drinking is detrimental in many ways. Our research is not an invitation to boost sperm quality by drinking alcohol, but a moderate intake is not to be demonized. 


Alcohol intake and semen variables: cross‐sectional analysis of a prospective cohort study of men referring to an Italian Fertility Clinic

Ricci, S. Noli, S. Ferrari, I. La Vecchia, S. Cipriani, V. De Cosmi, E. Somigliana, F. Parazzini

First published: 18 July 2018

[wysija_form id=”3″]


The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Last Updated on July 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD