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How Caffeine Affects Fertility in Men and Women

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects your central nervous system. It is typically consumed in drinks and food such as coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks and chocolate. It is also naturally produced in some plants. Many over the counter medicines and herbal remedies also contain varying amounts of caffeine.

According to some studies, above average caffeine consumption may affect fertility in both men and women. Women who are attempting to conceive, or who are pregnant, should be conscious of the amount of caffeine in what they consume. The source of the caffeine does not matter; the risk to the fetus and the ability to conceive is the same.

Moderate amounts of caffeine have not been shown to effect fertility. However, according to the March of Dimes, higher levels of caffeine (about 500 mg or greater per day) have been shown to decrease fertility. They recommend that women who are trying to get pregnant consume no more than one 12-ounce cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage per day. This is because caffeine can reduce the muscle activity in the fallopian tubes. A recent study conducted with mice, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, showed that caffeine interfered with the pacemaker cells in the fallopian tubes. These cells coordinate contractions for moving the egg through the tubes. When too much caffeine is present in a woman’s body, it makes the journey of the egg to the womb more difficult.

In another study of 100 women done in 1999, the results showed that those who consumed less than one cup of coffee per day conceived twice as many pregnancies as those who drank more than one cup of coffee per day. For men, caffeine can have a negative effect on sperm. Long term caffeine use decreases the number of moving sperm.

Caffeine and Miscarriage

There is conflicting information published about caffeine and miscarriages. Some studies have shown a cause and effect relationship, while others have shown no increased risk among those women who drank moderate amounts. For example, one study published in January of 2008 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women with a daily caffeine consumption of 200 mg or more were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as women who consumed no caffeine. Yet, in the same year, Epidemiology reported that there was no apparent connection between miscarriage and the consumption of 200 mg to 350 mg of coffee per day by a pregnant woman. Since there is no definitive answer when it comes to how caffeine might play a role in miscarriage, it is best to play it safe. Restrict your caffeine intake if you are pregnant.

The lesson here: consume caffeine in moderation. Especially if you are looking to expand your family.