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Deleterious Effects Described in Obese Women Undergoing IVF

Impact of Bodyweight and Lifestyle on IVF Outcome: Alcohol



Alcohol is widely consumed all over the globe. In the USA, for example, a report carried out in 2004 found that 50% of the population over the age of 12 years and 11% of pregnant women consumed alcohol, while 7% of the population were heavy drinkers.[168] Different studies have established a relationship between moderate-to-severe alcohol intake and infertility in both men and women and poor obstetric outcome, in a dose-dependent manner.[12,169-171]

However, only one study has explored female and male alcohol consumption as a primary risk factor for IVF.[171] In this study of 221 couples with female infertility, the percentage of drinkers was high (20-40% for women and 40-60% for men). Female alcohol consumption was associated with a 13% (95% CI: 2-23%) decrease in the number of eggs aspirated for one additional drink (12 g alcohol) per day consumed during the year before the IVF or GIFT attempt was performed; an increase in the risk of failing to achieve a pregnancy by 2.86-times (95% CI: 0.99-8.24) and 4.14-times (95% CI: 0.91-18.92) with consumption 1 month or 1 week before the procedure, respectively; and an increase in the risk of miscarriage by 2.21-times (95% CI: 1.09-4.49) with consumption 1 week before the procedure. For men, despite no apparent alteration in sperm quality, one additional drink per day increased the risk of not achieving a live birth by 2.28 (95% CI: 1.08-4.80) to 8.32 (95% CI: 1.82-37.97), depending on the time period. Beer consumption also affected live births (OR: 5.49-45.64). These results were partially due to the increased risk of miscarriage by 2.70- to 38.04-times for men who drank in the month before and during the IVF or GIFT procedure.

Taking into account the lack of studies regarding alcohol and IVF outcome and the small number of participants that continue to consume alcohol around the time of the ART treatment, the conclusions obtained in this work should be considered with caution. However, it seems that alcohol intake, especially in high doses and near the time of conception, could impair both oocyte and sperm quality and, subsequently, embryo competence and the final result of the IVF treatment. In mice, exposure to alcohol has been shown to induce chromosome segregation errors in the ovulated cycle, producing aneuploid embryos after fertilization with a considerably high chance of spontaneous abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.[172] Similarly, chronic biparental beer intake in mice had a noxious effect on implantation, manifested by delayed attachment of blastocysts, absence of decidual reaction and desynchronization of the implantation process.[173]

Until the medical literature provides more evidence about this relationship, reducing alcohol intake or better ceasing consumption is most certainly to be recommended to couples undergoing ART, particularly for more than 1 month before the attempt in order to maximize the chances of success. This modification of habits should be maintained during pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy live born.

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