Research throughout the medical industry has shown for years that drinking while pregnant can put the unborn child at risk. While much of this research has centered on developmental issues in relation to alcohol intake, the latest research shows a different impact altogether.
A recent Science Daily release focused on research that examined the potential damage to the fertility of the child if it is a male. New research presented at the meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology found that mothers who consumed 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant produced sons with lower sperm concentrations later in life.
These men were evaluated 20 years after their mothers’ pregnancies and their sperm concentrations registered one third lower than men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb. Senior researcher, Dr. Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen noted that because this is an observational study, they cannot say for certain that alcohol is the cause for the lower sperm concentrations.
This is the first study of its kind and Ramlau-Hansen highlighted it is possible that the alcohol consumed during pregnancy had a harmful effect on the semen-producing tissue in the tests and the semen quality later in life. It is recommended that additional research be done in this area to establish safe drinking limits.
In a study of 347 sons of 11,980 women, researchers found that sons of mothers who consumed 4.5 or more alcohol drinks per week had average sperm concentrations that were roughly 32 percent lower than that in the least exposed group. Those men who were exposed to 1-1.5 drinks per week had higher semen volume and total sperm count.