Instructor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Many of us need a cup of coffee to make it through the workday. Let’s take a look at how coffee and caffeine intake impact one’s ability to conceive.
First, let’s look at how female consumption impacts a woman’s ability to conceive naturally. The data is hard to interpret but most experts say a cup or two of coffee per day is probably OK. Below are a sample of studies that exemplify how the data tends to conflict.
As for how coffee consumption impacts success rates with fertility treatment, 5 of 6 studies show modest coffee consumption has no major impact and so the American Society of Reproductive Medicine says 1 - 2 cups of coffee is likely of little harm..
As for men, a team at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that after 1 - 2 cups of coffee per day, IVF success rates dramatically waned, as you can see below.
In some lines of work, or within some company cultures, getting drinks with colleagues or clients is encouraged.
The first thing to say is that if a woman is trying to conceive, it’s safest to avoid drinking.
For women trying to conceive naturally, the data suggests one drink per day probably has a modest-if-any impact on the odds of conception.
On the other hand, if a woman is undergoing fertility treatments, the closer to the start of a cycle she drinks, the lower the odds become that the cycle will work.
Again, once a woman thinks she may have conceived, she should stop drinking right away and consult with her doctor.
As for men, there’s data showing that too much alcohol coincides with worse semen parameters. The best of these studies we profile below. But, there’s very little data that shows how alcohol consumption actually hurts a man’s ability to conceive.
As for IVF, we’ve seen conflicting data — some data shows that alcohol use hurts outcomes, and other data shows it coincides with improved outcomes. On this subject, it’s probably too early to draw any conclusions.