When Drinking Coffee Is Not a Good Idea

Coffee is often praised for its health benefits, but new research says drinking it may harm a certain group’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Coffee consumption has been linked to lower risk of death, but new research suggests that women who drink more than five cups of coffee per day reduce their chances of getting pregnant through IVF treatment by half. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user deapeajay.

There have been so many studies touting coffee’s health benefits that the drink may be giving water a run for its money.

But while one of the most recent studies found that people who drank as much as six cups a day were likely to live longer than non-coffee drinkers, this habit may not be a good idea for women trying to get pregnant from in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

New research presented at a conference in Denmark suggested consumption of five or more cups of coffee per day reduced women’s chances of a successful IVF rate by 50 percent. It also reduced live birth rate by 40 percent.

The Danish study involved almost 4,000 women who were undergoing IVF treatment. Before starting treatment, the researchers asked about each woman’s coffee consumption, age, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, cause of infertility, body mass index, ovarian stimulation, and number of embryos retrieved.

The 50 percent pregnancy rate reduction was significant enough for the researchers to call coffee consumption while trying to get pregnant as detrimental as smoking.

Patients who reported drinking fewer than five cups of coffee per day showed no effects. Researchers said their results are in line with previous studies that have found time-to-pregnancy was significantly longer when women drank more than six cups of coffee or tea per day.

“There is limited evidence about coffee in the literature, so we would not wish to worry IVF patients unnecessarily,” said lead researcher Dr. Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel in a statement. “But 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.”