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4 Ways Alcohol and Marijuana Affect Fertility

When facing a fertility issue or planning a non-traditional pregnancy, it’s natural to start paying close attention to everything you put into your body, which sometimes can lead to worrying about the effects of your recreational activities. Undergoing IVF, fertility treatments, or even egg freezing is a big endeavor, and some of our patients worry about current or past substance use that can affect fertility. We often get the question, “Do alcohol and marijuana affect fertility?”

Especially in our modern culture, partaking in substances like marijuana and alcohol are normal parts of social life. In fact, over half of Americans report having had a drink in the past week. Sales of legal marijuana products topped $12 Billion in 2019, and are slated to continue rising to over $20 billion in the next 3 years.

When individuals and couples are diving into family planning, they usually start to take a hard look at their use of these substances. The good news is, most of us have nothing serious to worry about, as long as drinking and drug use is not excessive or sustained.

Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Fertility

It’s no secret that alcohol can have negative effects on many aspects of our health, including liver function, inflammation, and even mental health. When it comes to fertility, consuming heavy amounts of alcohol can have important impacts.

For women:

  • Excessive drinking can make conceiving a baby take a lot longer, because it can make periods heavier and ovulation more irregular
  • Some studies suggest that current heavy drinking can lead to low ovarian reserves (less eggs) for women
  • However “studies investigating the impact of alcohol on female fertility have been contradictory.”

For men:

  • Drinking heavily can cause hormone shifts that lead to lower sperm counts and lower testosterone for men
  • Lower testosterone is associated with lower sex drive (and lower sex drive usually means less sex, and of course, less chances for pregnancy)

alcohol effects on fertility

How Marijuana Impacts Fertility

Research so far on the effects of marijuana use on fertility is not exactly conclusive, because most studies use self-reporting and have trouble separating out effects of marijuana versus other substances, such as alcohol or other illicit drugs often consumed simultaneously with marijuana. For example, one study proposed a 55% drop in sperm count among men who regularly smoke marijuana, but also included illicit drug use of other types.

Many individuals choose to take a “better safe than sorry” approach and limit their use completely while trying to conceive, while some are more comfortable consuming in moderation. If you're concerned about your consumption and any possible effects, it's best to speak with a fertility expert to address any concerns.


How Fertility Specialists Can Help

While studies on the effects of marijuana and alcohol consumption on fertility are far from conclusive, it’s best to consult an expert if there are any concerns. The good news is, most reported effects come from very heavy, sustained use of drugs and alcohol. Most healthy couples and individuals who are ready to know more about their fertility are relieved to know a few drinks are probably not the end of the world. Again, it’s best to get the facts from a trained fertility specialist in NYC clinics if you’re at all concerned about the impact of marijuana or alcohol on fertility.

Concerned About Alcohol or Marijuana and Their Effect on Fertility? Speak to  One of Our Fertility Specialists Today.

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