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Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoking and IVF Success

Among infertility patients, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco are perceived as the top three modifiable lifestyle factors which may be detrimental to IVF success. A recent review from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School summarized the available studies on these three factors with respect to reproductive outcomes among couples undergoing IVF treatment. Of the five studies on caffeine usage and IVF outcomes, only one found a significant impact on caffeine intake on live birth rate following IVF. The scientific literature on this topic is limited and observational but does not support a link between low or moderate intakes of caffeine and poorer IVF outcomes. In addition, there was very little few data available regarding heavy caffeine users.

With respect to alcohol consumption, several studies assessed observed negative effects on IVF outcomes, including fertilization, embryo quality, and implantation. Wine, beer, and liquor intake during the year before IVF treatment do not appear to have an effect on outcome; however, current or short-term consumption of alcohol around the time of IVF appears to have negative impact. It is recommended that women refrain from alcohol usage immediately before IVF treatment and throughout pregnancy.

Lastly, various well-conducted epidemiologic studies have consistently and clearly demonstrated that women who are current smokers have worse IVF outcomes, including lower egg counts and quality, lower implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth rates. Smoking cessation should be encouraged in the weeks prior to beginning IVF treatment.

Further research is clearly indicated needed regarding caffeine and other modifiable lifestyle factors.

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