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Alcohol and conception (him and me) - any anecdotes/advice

(14 Posts)
LeviStubbsTears Mon 24-Aug-09 19:45:45

Hi there,

I've been TTC for a long time (about four years) with no success, despite a pretty regular cycle and nothing wrong (had all the tests, as has DH). I was just wondering about how much alcohol might be affecting our chances - obviously it's likely drinking doesn't help, and all the medical advice says as much, but the fertility specialists don't think this is really the issue, or didn't say so, and all my friends conceived while drinking as much as I do or more, and say 'don't give up until you have to'. I don't drink masses and masses, but I often have 10-14 units a week, though have been trying to make it much less recently.

My DH drinks quite heavily though - it's rare he has a night off, and he'll probably have 7-8 units (in one night) a few times a week. He is co-operating with the whole TTC thing, but isn't that keen on kids, and while not being an alcoholic exactly, is very habituated to drinking and it's a big part of his life. I know this sounds like something of an issue but I can't change him in this respect (he is not amenable to being changed!) and he's wonderful in every other way, so I have come to accept that he drinks a bit (and sometimes a lot) more than I would like, both for the sake of his health and in terms of conceiving.

I know you aren't medics (well, some of you probably are, actually!) but if anyone has any advice or a feel for whether my stopping drinking completely is very likely to help us conceive, and whether his drinking is likely to be a or the major problem, I'd love to know. We're thinking about IVF, but it would be very stupid to go through that if a simple lifestyle change could sort us out. It's certainly not just DH - I would struggle to give up alcohol completely, I have to say, as it's embedded in my life and habits quite signficantly, and I love it, but I could do it and am thinking perhaps I should.

Any thoughts/experiences? (Thanks in advance!!)

MrsMattie Mon 24-Aug-09 19:48:27

Tricky one. I'd say it's worth a try for a period of, say, 6 mths, isn't it? Maybe you could both cut back on your drinking and see what happens? Anything is worth a try. And I think if IVF is a serious consideration, it might be worth thinking about making those lifestyle changes now anyway.

Good luck.

TheOnlyDailyMaleForMeisDH Mon 24-Aug-09 19:52:04

Would he be up for a sperm test? You could ask the GP to give him one then cut down or give up for a month and do another. I bet he'll find the sperm count goes up massively.

Before we conceived DD I was concerned about this and DH did cut down and we did conceive. That doesn't prove anything of course but it's well known that sperm of alcoholics can't swim well as they often have malformed tails because of (I think it's zinc) but vitamin deficiencies.

corblimeymadam Mon 24-Aug-09 20:03:23

Message withdrawn

sazlocks Mon 24-Aug-09 20:08:03

I think it might be worth giving up the booze for a bit and see if its helps.
If you have had all the tests then I imagine DH has had a sperm test already ?
At the risk of being contraversial it sounds like something your DH may have to face at some point anyway though as having small children and heavy drinking doesn't exactly go hand in hand IMO.
Good luck

GirlsAreLoud Mon 24-Aug-09 20:08:07

Be careful though, DH had a robust sperm count despite his regular boozing and once he found this out saw it as a green light to carry on.

I used to drink a fair bit pre-dd, stopped drinking when ttc (although always had a drink at the beginning of my cycle). We conceived within about 5 months of concerted trying.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 24-Aug-09 20:08:31

Why are you pressuring a man who is 'not keen on kids' to have one with you? If he is a bit of a wuss who hasn't got the guts to say he wants to stop TTC then he may well be drinking heavily as a kind of sabotage technique. Are you prepared for the fact that men who are reluctant to become fathers quite often play around or indeed up and leave when their partners become pregnant or when there is a newborn in the house?

You can't do anything about his drinking, whether he is an alcoholic or not, only he can change his habits and TBH it sounds to me like the decision you have to make is not 'can I put up with a heavy drinker for a partner' but 'Which do I want more, this partner, or a baby?'

LeviStubbsTears Mon 24-Aug-09 20:09:25

Hi all,
Thanks! Wow, prompt responses. He did have two sperm tests - both borderline but ok. Unfortunately, in a sense, the docs said that they were ok, so he isn't worried - but they probably would have been better if he wasn't drinking. I will try again to get him to cut down, if only for the next month or two, but it isn't easy at all - he's Irish and fun-loving and it's so deeply deeply part of his character and identity. And I'm sure it's an addiction on some level. I know this sounds very bad but it's stable, he's holding down a very high powered job, and I just know that I can't get very far with changing his behaviour in this respect. But am inspired/empowered to try again (and certainly cut down or give up if I can myself), so thank you!

Littlefish Mon 24-Aug-09 20:10:47

It takes 3 months for sperm to be produced, so you would need to give up for at least that length of time before starting IVF. Even one night of binge drinking can affect sperm quality, so a regular intake as high as your partners could certainly be having an adverse affect.

I gave up for 2 years when TTC. DH gave up for 6 months and we conceived naturally the month before we were due to start IVF.

Have a look at the Dr Marilyn Glenville book "Natural Solutions to Infertility" - she has quite a lot to say on the subject.

Littlefish Mon 24-Aug-09 20:12:45

Sorry - missed off part of the first sentence - it should say "so you would need to give up for at least that length of time before starting IVF if you wanted to give it a real chance".

LeviStubbsTears Mon 24-Aug-09 20:15:17

Wrote a response before reading GirlsAreLoud (great name!) and SGB's replies. Yes, GAL, that is almost what happened - but it wasn't that robust, he just chose to interpret it that way. SGB - I have a long and complex response to this that I don't have time to post here right now. You are right to some extent, I shouldn't pressure him, but he is not completely anti, and is absolutely brilliant with kids and warms to the idea, at least a little, after being with them - so I don't think he'd hate every minute of it. He's also come round a lot recently, to the point of answering a confident yes when the fertility doc asked us if we would consider IVF, having been quite ambivalent before. I value him and our relationship more than having kids, to be quite truthful, and would choose him over kids - I'm quite sure about that. I want a baby but it isn't (yet at least) the be all and end all. But I don't think the two are entirely incompatible. We'll see, I guess.

LeviStubbsTears Mon 24-Aug-09 20:16:47

Wow, can't keep up with these replies - thanks, folks. Sorry to Littlefish for ignoring you - and anyone else who replies before I get this posted! That's very helpful (Littlefish) - unwelcome in one sense but obviously sensible facts, thanks!

GirlsAreLoud Mon 24-Aug-09 20:24:01

What do the fertility specialists say Levi? YOu said they didn't think it was the drinking, do they have an idea what it could be?

SolidGoldBrass Mon 24-Aug-09 20:53:38

Levi: Obviously I don't know you or your H and you know the details of your relationship far better than a bunch of strangers on the internet, but it it often does lead to problems when one partner is much keener on breeding than the other - whichever partner gets his/her own way in the end.

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