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Caffeine: Risk During Fertility Treatment and Pregnancy?

a blog by Beth Hartog, M.D., Damien Fertility Partners, May 14, 2012

Caffeine is found in the obvious beverages like coffee, tea, colas and energy drinks. Some may be surprised to know that caffeine is also found in cold and flu treatments, headache and allergy treatments and chocolate. According to a recent survey done in the USA, 89 percent of women aged 18-34 consume caffeine, and the average intake of these women is 164 mg per day.

Most pregnant women decrease their caffeine intake. An average pregnant woman consumes 125 mg of caffeine per day. When a pregnant mom consumes caffeine, it crosses the placenta and goes into the baby’s blood and amniotic fluid. The baby processes the caffeine very slowly, and it stays in the baby’s body for quite some time. Caffeine also passes into breast milk.

Research studies looking at effects of caffeine on fertility and pregnancy outcome are generally poor quality. Most of the research has flawed methods within the studies. Some adverse effects of caffeine that are suggested but clearly not proven:

  • Impairs success of in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Impairs the number of eggs recovered during IVF
  • Impairs quality of embryos during IVF
  • Restricts growth of fetus in utero
  • Increases risk of miscarriage

Given the limitations surrounding this research, it seems prudent to limit caffeine consumption if you are attempting to conceive or are pregnant. Please go to to check how much caffeine is in the things you currently consume!

Comments (2)

I have not been able to locate any studies that look at this specifically. I do think that the potential negative effects of caffeine may still apply in this situation given no research project has ever separated out the effects of caffeine on the uterus and implantation versus the effects on embryo quality. Beth

Are there any studies regarding the impact of caffeine for a recipient cycling using donor eggs (prior to transfer)?

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