Does Caffeine Affect Fertility? Comments Off

Does Caffeine Affect Fertility?

A question on the minds of many women trying to get pregnant is whether the caffeine in their morning cup of coffee affects their fertility. The possible connection between caffeine, fertility, and miscarriage rates is commonly in the news, perhaps because the research interests so many women. Having a morning cup of coffee or tea is practically a tradition in the Western world.

Also, getting our bodies in tip-top shape is often a primary goal when trying to get pregnant, and many aspire to give up that morning cup of coffee or tea. Some women, though, just cannot get through the day without a bit of a caffeine boost. For them, a morning or afternoon cup of joe can lead to feelings of guilt and worry.

“Approximately 20 percent of adult Americans consume greater than 300 mg of caffeine daily. Some studies have reported that increased caffeine consumption (eg, >300 to 500 mg) is associated with a modest, but statistically significant decrease in fertility, while others have not found an adverse effect. The widespread consumption of caffeine at doses associated with subfertility makes it a potentially important contributor to fertility problems. The March of Dimes website recommends that women who are trying to become pregnant consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

“The mechanism by which caffeine consumption may be linked to infertility is unclear. Caffeine consumption may increase estrogen production and/or decrease estrogen metabolism. Caffeine consumption has also been linked to tubal factor infertility and endometriosis associated infertility. Most studies were done in coffee drinkers and do not account for other sources of caffeine or other substances in coffee that may affect fertility.

“There is no strong evidence that caffeine consumption by the male partner influences fertility. Whether caffeine consumption impairs success of in vitro fertilization is unclear due to lack of studies.”

Factors to Keep in Mind When Looking at the Research

As the excerpt above states, whether or not caffeine leads to lowered fertility is unclear. While some studies have shown an effect on fertility, other studies have shown no effect. Even in studies that have found an effect on fertility, it’s not a strong one.

When you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time, you’re probably wary of taking in substances that even might make trying to get pregnant difficult. So while the research doesn’t implicate caffeine completely, cutting back may be a good idea, just in case.

The Bottom Line on Caffeine and Fertility

Studies have not found a connection between caffeine and lowered fertility in men.

While it’s not clear yet whether caffeine lowers fertility in women, the studies that have shown an effect find that less than 200 mg of caffeine should be ok. You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee (and needn’t feel guilty about it), but you might want to pass on seconds.

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