Can caffeine impair a woman's fertility?

Coffee genome could lead to better brew, tougher plants

If you’re having difficulties getting pregnant, new research announced May 26 suggests that cutting back on caffeine might help.

Researchers from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in the US found that caffeine could impair fertility in women by relaxing the cells of the muscles in the fallopian tubes, which carry a woman's eggs from her ovaries to her womb.

"Caffeine inhibits the contractions of the muscles in the fallopian tube, so the egg stops getting transported," study researcher Sean Ward told health website MyHealthNewsDaily.

Ward and his team tested the effect of caffeine on mice, which he said are similar reproductively to humans. The study didn’t give specifics on how much caffeine may impact fertility, but the amount they tested in their research was about the equivalent to two cups of coffee for humans.

"This provides an intriguing explanation as to why women with high caffeine consumption often take longer to conceive than women who do not consume caffeine," stated Ward in a release.

Past research had also made the link between caffeine and fertility problems. A 1993 study found that drinking more than "moderate amounts" of caffeine can lower a woman's likelihood of conceiving by as much as 27 percent. How much caffeine was too much? Drinking more than two cups of coffee a day, or 200 milligrams of caffeine. Also in this same study, women who drank as little as one cup of coffee a day lowered their chances of getting pregnant by 10 percent.

If you’re trying to get pregnant and having trouble, talk to your doctor about your caffeine consumption and how it might be affecting you. Caffeine affects everybody in different ways, and therefore may affect people's fertility differently, Ward stated to MyHealthNewsDaily.

The study was published May 26 in the journal British Journal of Pharmacology. Access the paper here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01266.x/abstract

Read more on caffeine and fertility: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/preconception/activelytrying/caffeineandfertility

 

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