Men Who Want To Be Fathers Could Stand To Watch Their Drinking, Too

According to a report this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.3 million women — or roughly one in 10 pregnant women — are at risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancies. These can result in birth defects, developmental issues, miscarriage and fetal alcohol syndrome, a devastating disorder characterized by developmental difficulties and central nervous system problems.

The report’s language was widely criticized, misinterpreted as saying that women shouldn’t drink unless they’re on birth control. It was decried for being sexist, seemingly shaming women for being sexually active and consuming alcohol. But it’s worth noting that the guidelines were only directed toward women hoping to get pregnant, not all women of childbearing age.

Consuming any amount of alcohol while pregnant is “just not worth the risk,” Cheryl Tan, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, previously told The Huffington Post.

But perhaps the most gender-biased aspect of the report wasn’t what it said about women, but what it didn’t say about men. In both the press release for the report and the report itself, the CDC neglected to mention that a father’s drinking has also been linked with fetal alcohol syndrome and other developmental issues.

That’s right: Men who are looking to have children would almost certainly do well to watch their alcohol consumption, too.

It’s become customary for us to place the blame for infertility, difficulty conceiving and fetal health issues on the mother, but mounting research is unequivocally showing that it’s not just women who need to be careful.

A groundbreaking study on mice, published in 2013 in the journal Animal Cells and Systems, found that male mice who were exposed to alcohol directly prior to the time of conception were significantly —> Read More