Mums who drink more than 4 alcoholic drinks a week while pregnant could be harming their sons’ sperm counts
Mums-to-be who drink 4.5 or more alcoholic drinks a week during their pregnancy have been found to be more likely to give birth to sons with lower sperm counts. Research, which began in the 1980s, has found that sons with mums who abstained from alcohol had sperm counts around a third higher on average.
The Danish study looked at the fertility of 347 men between the ages of 18 and 24. Their semen samples were analysed against a lifestyle questionnaire given out to mums towards the end of their pregnancies. The questionnaire quizzed mums about their alcohol consumption during pregnancy amongst other health questions.
However, researchers say it is too early to say whether a mum’s alcohol consumption directly harms her son’s sperm and previous studies have found no harmful effects from low alcohol intake during pregnancy.
“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 study leader Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen.
The government currently advises mums-to-be to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy. For more information and reasons behind the recommendations try our guide to alcohol in pregnancy.
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