After attempting twice to post a reply in the comments section, Ms. Geek is forced to devote a whole column to a person whose name is shielded behind a pseudonym. California isn’t rain soaked, but Rainsoaked isn’t fertile ground to grow a good garden.
Did you read it?. It states (much as in my first post) is the greatest risk for alcohol consumption in men is infertility. That is the main result of ‘malformed sperm’, poor swimmers. That does not guarantee poorer quality DNA. It also said that a moderate amount of alcohol (1 to 5 units) actually increased sperm quality.
While some people may believe that the greatest risk for alcohol consumption in men is infertility, if young men are not interested in impregnating their sexual partners, that would seem like a good reason to encourage drinking. The UK website Drinkaware suggests that a couple attempting to get pregnant both cut down on drinking. “Ask your partner to help you by cutting down drinking as well. If you are trying to conceive this is vital, as drinking impairs sperm count and heavy drinking can cause temporary impotence”
This is not what the CDC suggests in its recent press release. If you look at the “Alcohol and Pregnancy” page of the CDC you will note that it suggests that women stop drinking and “ask their partner, family and friends to support their choice not to drink during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant.” It does not suggest that women ask their partner to refrain from drinking.
Further, the Danish study was published in the British Medical Journal and found: “Sperm concentration, total sperm count and percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology were negatively associated with increasing habitual alcohol intake. This association was observed in men reporting at least 5 units in a typical week but was most pronounced for men with a typical intake of more than 25 units/week. Men with a typical weekly intake above 40 units had a 33% (95% CI 11% to 59%) reduction in sperm concentration compared to men with an intake of 1–5 units/week. A significant increase in serum free testosterone with increasing alcohol consumption the week preceding the visit was found. Binging was not independently associated with semen quality.”
The study also concluded: “Our study suggests that even modest habitual alcohol consumption of more than 5 units per week had adverse effects on semen quality although most pronounced associations were seen in men who consumed more than 25 units per week. Alcohol consumption was also linked to changes in testosterone and SHBG levels. Young men should be advised to avoid habitual alcohol intake.”
The CDC notes that about “half of all US pregnancies are unplanned.” It highlights that “3 million US women” risk exposing a fetus to alcohol, meaning women between the ages of 15 and 44 (according to the press release). The press release states, “A woman was considered to be at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy if in the past month she was not sterile, her partner was not known to be sterile, she had vaginal sex with a male, drank any alcohol, and did not use birth control.” So her partner is not known to be sterile, however, there is no mention of what risks are associated with the non-sterile partner drinking.
The actual proof of fathers contributing directly to FAS is only within the animal model thus far and the decades of these tests are contradictory (this is not the first study). The amount of alcohol and the way it is consumed is not directly applicable to humans. There is some sign that it could affect birth-weight however.
As you note, low birth weight is a known problem of paternal alcohol use. What you do not note is that low birth weight is the first notable characteristic listed by the CDC of infants born with FASD.
What the CDC press release does quote Colleen Boyle saying, “Every woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant – and her partner – want a healthy baby. But they may not be aware that drinking any alcohol at any stage of pregnancy can cause a range of disabilities for their child,” the release doesn’t indicate what her partner could do to help this. Instead it states, ““It is critical for healthcare providers to assess a woman’s drinking habits during routine medical visits.” It does not discuss assessing her partner’s drinking habits.
Further, it wants to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies and FASDs through “tracking alcohol use among women of reproductive age” and not their partners. If you follow the link for alcohol screening, under “Risky Alcohol” use it has headings for “Health & Social Harm,” “Costly & Fatal” and “Women & Alcohol.” It does not list low birth weight in babies associated with alcohol drinking fathers.
While the study published in “Animal Cells and Systems” was on mice, it does conclude that “paternal alcohol consumption can directly affect fetal development.” It further states, “A number of fetuses sired by males exposed to alcohol suffered abnormal organ development and or brain development. “
The CDC “Alcohol and Pregnancy” page asks “Why take the risk?” but only applies that question to women and does not note that men are also part of that risk factor although it does mention men.
Either way, I won’t contest that men should not drink excessively when trying for children. What is incorrect however is insane implication of this article- that it was wrong of the CDC to focus on mothers because men could (possibly) contribute to FAS. We know, for a fact, that the effects of FAS (especially the most extreme cases) are caused by the pre-natal abuse of a child. It is not only right to focus on women in this case but a necessity if we have any hope of turning back this epidemic.
“Pre-natal abuse” sounds like you want to make it a legal actionable case against women who drink alcohol. Yet as the 1991 New York Times article points out, the exposure of men to various chemicals and drugs also affects the sperm and thus the children born. How far back do you want to take this theory of abuse? Only as far as pregnancy? The New York Times article comments that “Animal experiments and human epidemiological research” indicates that “exposures to certain substances” have been linked to birth defects in children. Epidemiology is “the study of how disease spreads and can be controlled.”
Other researchers have indicated that autism and schizophrenia are also linked to advancing paternal age, caused by sperm mutation. Autism and schizophrenia might also be considered brain damage. This should indicate that the quality of sperm doesn’t prevent fertilization. How do you propose one stops this epidemic?
In another study on male infertility, researchers from Cleveland, Ohio found that while many infertile men had “obviously defective sperm” that were “either abnormal-looking or unable to swim normally” about a quarter of the men studies had normal looking sperm. The abnormal sperm and a high rate of DNA damage, but under half the men with normal-appearing sperm also had sperm with signs of DNA damage. It is not only the poor swimmers that may have DNA damage.
It’s all so absurd. You have hurt feelings (umbrage!) over a CDC brief to doctors (this was not aimed towards patients).. A brief attempting to avert one of the most horrific set of preventable birth defects around. All because they didn’t mention men and try to blame them directly for FAS when their contribution, if any, is minor and inconclusive. And even if there was? Adding it to a poster would be poor design. Does your doctor’s office cover prostate issues on the same flier that covers vaginal health? No. That’d be silly and harm readability. In fact, it’d probably inspire its own umbrage “CDC dedicates half the space on woman’s health brief to talk about penises and prostates.”
In the end, not only does the CDC already warn men against drinking, but they have a long history of warning against life-style choices and risk factors (for men) which could affect the health of the child. Thus, this was all pointless.
For those reasons I have outlined above, you analogy on vaginal health is not well considered. You might find men’s contribution to pregnancy and the quality of their sperm as a “minor” problem and be willing to dismiss research in reputable medical journals, however, the risk of FAS is comparatively low but the CDC itself asks: “Why take the risk?”
Umbrage, moreover, means “a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult” which I feel is slightly different from being hurt although both words are synonyms for offend. I do not feel pained or emotionally wounded. I resent the tone of the CDC press release.
In addition, the press release was also not a “CDC brief to doctors.” It was a press release and not all members of the press are medical doctors.
It was part of a Vital Signs report “that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.”
The latest data should include the study on mice as well as the Danish study and the already known factors about paternal alcohol use and infertility and low birth weight.