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Paternal drinking negatively affects pregnancy outcomes, a new study in mice shows. The more alcohol a male mouse drank before conception, the less likely the pregnancy was successful.

Researchers modeled chronic alcohol consumption in adult mice for six weeks. One group drank no alcohol, one group drank to the legal limit (0.8 percent blood alcohol level), and the other drank to 50 percent above the legal limit. Then, using sperm samples they collected from the mice, they attempted to fertilize eggs taken from female mice.

They found that any amount of preconception alcohol consumption reduced the fertilization success rate in the mice. However, the highest alcohol consumption – 50 percent above the legal limit – reduced the fertilization success rate by roughly half. They also found that alcohol altered the activity of genes involved in placental development.

These findings suggest that male alcohol consumption plays a critical role in conception. Evidence suggests that exercise can reduce cravings for alcohol by inducing the production of a hormone called FGF21. Learn more in this video featuring Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

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