Does moderate alcohol intake reduce fecundability? A European multicenter study on infertility and subfecundity. European Study Group on Infertility and Subfecundity

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1997 Apr;21(2):206-12.


Background and aim: There are plausible reasons to suggest that heavy alcohol consumption reduces male as well as female fecundability, but only a few epidemiological studies have addressed this issue, and results concerning the effect of a moderate intake are equivocal. The present studies were designed to examine the association between male and female alcohol intake at the start of the waiting time to a planned pregnancy.

Methods: Two types of studies were used-a population-based study of randomly selected women between 25 and 44 years in the different European countries from census registers and electoral rolls, and a pregnancy-based study of consecutive pregnant women (at least 20 weeks pregnant) recruited during prenatal care encounters. More than 4000 couples were included in each study, and 10 different regions in Europe took part in the data collection. Data were collected through personal interviews in all population-based samples and in all but four regions of the pregnancy study.

Results: The results showed no strong nor coherent association between alcohol intake and subfecundity.

Conclusions: Should any causal effect be present it is restricted to females with a high intake of alcohol within the range of normal consumption reported in European countries.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors