Can Caffeine Really Cause Infertility in Women?

Careful now. (photo from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com)
Careful now. (photo from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com)

Caffeine had been known to have a number of negative effects on overall health. Another possible addition to the list is a study done on experimental animals suggesting that caffeine can impair fertility in women.

A study published in 1993 in the American Journal of Epidemiology has already explored the relation between caffeine and infertility. It showed that drinking at least four cups of coffee a day  lowered the chance of conceiving a child by 26%.

The fallopian tubes is  the part that connects the ovaries to the womb and is responsible for carrying the egg cells from the ovaries to the womb. Caffeine relaxes the fallopian tube muscles disabling its ability to contract and transport  the egg cells as confirmed by  lead researcher Sean Ward of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. The eggs that get stuck and develop in the fallopian tube because of this will lead to ectopic pregnancy. Fetuses from this type of pregnancy do not survive and often do not even fully develop.

The conclusions of this study were drawn from laboratory tests conducted in mice. As noted by Sean Ward, the fallopian tubes of mice are similar reproductively to those of humans, making them a reliable comparison. They applied caffeienc on the fallopian tubes of the mice. True enough, the muscles on  the fallopian tubes did relax leading  them to conclude that it is possible to have a similar effect on women.

Researchers have determined that the equivalent amount for human of the caffeine used on the mice would be about four cups of coffee. Now, four cups is a lot of coffee. Most researchers say that if you stick to less than 300 mg of caffeine a day, you’ll be safe. That’s about two to three 5 oz. cups of coffee (depending on how strong the brew is

Ward also noted, however that it does not specifically pertain caffeine found in coffee alone but rather caffeine in general.

Caffeine is a common ingredient in food and drink, so you might not know it, but you might be getting a bigger dose than what you actually think.

How much caffeine can be found in our food and  drinks?

Here’s a rough guide to caffeine levels in popular food and drinks:

Food or drink Average caffeine content Amount equivalent to 200mg of caffeine
Cup of instant coffee 100mg Two cups
Cup of filter coffee 140mg One cup
Cup of tea 75mg Two mugs
Cup of green tea 50mg Four mugs
Can of cola 40mg Five cans
Can of energy drink 80mg Two cans
Small bar of plain chocolate 50mg Four bars
Small bar of milk chocolate 25mg Eight bars

Some cold and flu  remedies also contain caffeine, so be sure to check the label, and ask the  pharmacist if you’re not sure.

It is  important to know that even the researchers admitted however that they need further studies to firmly establish how much caffeine can actually impair  fertility in women,  and much more research is needed to determine how much  amount of caffeine can have this such effect.

For now, women don’t have to cut out on coffee completely. Just don’t drink too much of it.

Web References:

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a4489/your-caffeine-habit-and-fertility#ixzz2E8h8MvZH

http://www.parentdish.com/2011/05/31/caffeine-may-cause-infertility/

http://infertility.about.com/od/causesofinfertility/ss/stressfertility_6.htm

http://www.fertilityfactor.com/helping_conception_vices.html