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.
Ricci, S. Noli, S. Ferrari, I. La Vecchia, S. Cipriani, V. De Cosmi, E. Somigliana, F. Parazzini
First published: 18 July 2018
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