Is Your Starbucks To Blame For Infertility?

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The longtime common belief that “coffee stunts your growth” has been around for years and has been deemed untrue by many doctors. However, can we say the same for excessive caffeine consumption linked to infertility? Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage and is the second-most traded commodity behind crude oil. According to gourmet coffee empire Ronnoco, figures from 2011 put the amount of global consumption at a whopping 400 billion cups per year. It probably comes as no surprise that the United States leads the national pack—over 146 billion of those cups (about 400 million per day) are consumed in America—far outpacing any other nation in terms of consumption. So, what does this mean for women who love their double shots of espresso that are also trying to conceive?

I’ve heard drinking coffee can make it harder to get pregnant. Is that true?

You may have heard that even moderate amounts of caffeine can delay conception. The truth is, no one is really sure.

One often-cited study from the 1990s found that women who had the equivalent of three cups of coffee a day lowered their likelihood of conceiving by as much as 27 percent. But researchers at Harvard Medical School who conducted a review of the literature claimed that there was no convincing evidence that caffeine delays conception. For example, one study from the San Francisco Bay Area found that caffeine had no effect on a woman’s odds of conceiving and that moderate tea drinkers were actually twice as likely to conceive per menstrual cycle.

So what should you believe? Maybe it’s best to rely on your own judgment. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months without success, and you’ve already given up alcohol and smoking, you may want to try limiting your total intake of caffeine from coffee, soda, and chocolate — especially if you regularly get more than 300 mg a day. Although there’s no compelling reason to swear off your morning fix and occasional latte, you might even prefer to give up caffeine entirely.

If you’re in your 30s, and you’ve been trying to conceive for more than six months, it may be a good idea to consult your physician to find out if you or your partner might have a fertility problem. It’s more common than you might think.

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