Alcohol & Infertility: A Love-Hate Relationship

By Kristyn Hodgdon

To drink or not to drink: that is the question.

It’s a Friday during the holiday season, and I’m sure you’ve got one or two holiday parties coming up, which got me thinking about the love-hate relationship I had with alcohol while undergoing fertility treatments.

I have always been a social drinker. I enjoy a nice glass of wine or a good IPA, and before I started trying to conceive my weekend plans usually involved at least a drink or two (or three). But once I started fertility treatments, it became a constant push and pull between whether or not to have a drink. On one hand I’d think to myself, “people drink and get pregnant all the time!,” which is both true and incredibly frustrating. On the other hand I’d think, “but I’m not that person and can’t get pregnant on my own, so I should really lay off the booze.” Sometimes I would give in to the temptation and sometimes I would behave myself, but usually I felt guilty either way.

If I decided not to drink, I would be mad at myself for not continuing to live my life as normally as possible despite infertility. If I gave into drinking, I would feel guilty and be convinced that my current cycle wasn’t going to be successful. It was a catch-22 to say the least, and it made me angry that I couldn’t just be one of those people that got pregnant by accident after a few too many drinks.

It wasn’t until I started IVF that the right decision was obvious. With IVF, the stakes were just too high to risk having even one drink, even if it was the holiday season. But you better believe that when my first transfer failed our first stop was our favorite brewery!

All of this is to say: no matter how you choose to spend your holiday season, try to give yourself grace. One drink probably isn’t going to make a difference, and if it helps you enjoy the holidays a little bit more despite infertility then go for it. If it’s your choice not to drink, that’s fine too, but whatever you decide try not to beat yourself up about it later. So whether it’s beer or water I will still say “Cheers!,” and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

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