July 23, 2018
Cheers for my friends!

Prospective Dads and Alcohol

by Berkeley Wellness  

While women are advised to stop drinking when trying to conceive and during pregnancy, most men don’t think twice about imbibing when they may become fathers. But alcohol can have damaging effects on sperm cells and perhaps on seminal fluid. It’s thus logical to think that a prospective father’s use of alcohol (as well as tobacco and other drugs, and his exposure to environmental toxins) will affect the health of his children. Confirming a connection has been difficult, however, since studies, not surprisingly, have focused on women.

Lab research has shown that male rats given alcohol-based diets sire offspring with behavioral differences and learning deficits. And some human studies have linked fathers’ alcohol use in the month before fertilization to worse reproductive outcomes, including low birth weight. But what happens to rats may not happen to humans, and observational studies of human fathers are no better at proving causality than those of mothers.

So where does this leave prospective fathers? The lack of solid evidence is a sign of the deficiencies of research, not an indication that paternal influences are negligible. Thus, men may want to abstain from alcohol while trying to conceive a baby—starting at least three months before, since that’s how long it takes sperm to fully develop. Heavy drinking can also impair a man’s ability to conceive. In addition, like women, men should not smoke—not only for their own health, but also to avoid exposing their partners and babies to secondhand smoke.