Women who drink while they are pregnant
could inadvertently be harming their chances of having grandchildren, scientists have suggested.
Research carried out by a team at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark looked into the sperm counts of around 350 men whose mothers participated in a separate study while pregnant back in the 1980s.
The scientists found that men whose mothers had at least 4.5 alcoholic drinks a week while expectant tended to have sperm concentration levels around 32 per cent lower than their counterparts whose mothers only had one drink a week while pregnant.
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Dr Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen explained that, when linked with changing lifestyles, this could be a key factor behind the drop in semen quality seen over recent years.
"If exposure to alcohol in foetal life causes poor semen quality in adult life, we would expect that populations with many pregnant women drinking, possibly heavily, in pregnancy would have lower fertility in comparison with populations where pregnant women do not drink," she said.