Almost all conversations around fertility and health of the developing baby are overwhelmingly targeted towards women. Primarily because it is absolutely true that the health of the mother has direct consequences on the healthy development of the baby, but it wouldn’t be so wise to ignore other factors like environment and more importantly the health of the father. A research suggests that men who are planning to be fathers also stand the chance to seriously reduce or altogether abstain during conception.
According to the U.S. Centres of Disease Control & Prevention, more than 3.3 million women – or roughly 10 per cent of all pregnant women are at the risk of having their babies suffer from alcohol induced disorders. The spectrum of these devastating disorders are characterised by severe developmental difficulties and problems of the central nervous system.
Also note that this report was widely criticized and on occasions, even misinterpreted as saying that women should abstain from drinking alcohol altogether. Some women also felt judged for having sex! Of course, the naivety of these claims that took an unexpected and dreaded sociological perspective had little to do with the health of the baby when it in the womb. Later on, it was clarified that the report was limited to only pregnant women and not women who fall in the child-bearing age. Perhaps, the most gender-biased aspect of the report was that it spoke about what women should do when there is enough research evidence that consumption of alcohol by men also greatly affects the quality of sperm and therefore the child.
Here is an experiment that was performed on the effects of alcohol on fertility in rats. (which can also be the case with humans) –
In 2013, a study was conducted on rats which found that male rats which had been exposed to alcohol fertilized females rats which gave birth to babies that had much similarity to Foetal Alcohol Disorder Syndrome. The baby rats in this case had nervous or brain damage. The control group that had no exposure to alcohol produced healthy offspring. We’re yet to find concrete evidence, but it definitely is very possible for human males to affect the health of their baby by excessive consumption of alcohol.
It is also of little surprise that the overall health and living environment of the future father also greatly affects the health of the baby. These include the absence of a healthy diet, chemical exposure, and alcohol consumption. These are some things that are universally linked to decreased fertility amongst men and a poor birth rate.
Another psychological aspect that is often overlooked is the supportive role of the man during pregnancy. It is easier for the woman to successfully combat stress and overcome any hurdles during pregnancy by the support and well-being of her husband. Always remember to drink responsibly and enjoy life to the fullest!