Coffee May Reduce Likelihood of Pregnancy Through IVF

Most people enjoy a piping hot cup of java in the morning, so why would women looking to conceive be any different? Well, there's a good reason... Even for regular caffeine fans, pouring that first cup may be more of a habit than a necessity. And when it comes to prospective moms, especially if you're looking into in assisted reproductive technology (ART), there's every reason to grind your coffee habit to a halt - or at least to a slow drip. 

According to a study presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting, more than five cups of coffee a day may decrease the likelihood of success for in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is the artificial process of joining a woman's egg and a man's sperm in a lab, with intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Researchers from Denmark followed approximately 4,000 women who were receiving IVF and ICSI treatment. They found that consuming five or more cups of coffee reduced pregnancy rates by 50 percent and live birth rates by 40 percent. Less than five cups was found to have an insignificant impact.

"Although we were not surprised that coffee consumption appears to affect pregnancy rates in IVF, we were surprised at the magnitude of the effect," said Ulrik Kesmodel, M.D., the study presenter.

Although Data Has Been Inconsistent in the Past, the Effect is Plausible

Caffeine appears to be a big factor influencing the study's unsuccessful pregnancies among women undergoing IVF, and has also been attributed to miscarriages in previous studies, none of which had enough information to make a definitive conclusion.

Kesmodel said that there is currently isn't enough adequate evidence about the relationship between coffee and pregnancy, so those interested in IVF shouldn't fret. However, women who drink between four and six cups a day should consider lowering their daily caffeine intake.

"It does seem reasonable, based on our results and the evidence we have about coffee consumption during pregnancy, that women should not drink more than five cups of coffee a day when having IVF," said Kesmodel.

What are your thoughts on excessive caffeine and trying to get pregnant? Do you think it can affect a couple's chance of conceiving during IVF? Would you recommend that women interested in ART cut down or give up coffee? Do you know anyone who drinks five or more cups of coffee every day? Leave your answers in the comment section!