fertility and alcohol consumption (in females)

Last reviewed 01/2018

There is evidence to suggest that women should avoid alcohol if they are trying to become pregnant.

A follow-up study of 430 Danish couples trying to conceive for the first time found that that 64% of women who drank five or fewer alcoholic drinks per week conceived. This compared with 55% of women with an alcohol intake of six or more alcoholic drinks per week.


  • fecundity (the ability to conceive in any one menstrual cycle) is lower in couples were the woman drinks alcohol.
  • the alcohol intake of males showed no statistical link to the couples fecundity.
  • there is a dose dependent reduction in fecundity associated with alcohol drinking.

Women who are trying to become pregnant should be informed that drinking no more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol once or twice per week and avoiding episodes of intoxication reduces the risk of harming a developing fetus (2)