Study of Effect of Alcohol on the Microscopic Analysis of Semen

Archana C Buch, Shashank M Tiwari, Shreya M Rathi, Namrata Patro, Sahiba Kaur, Dayanand Sonkawade


Background: Consumption of alcohol is a major modifiable, rather avoidable lifestyle choice and has shown to affect male fertility. Alcohol has shown to cause various deleterious effects on the male reproductive system.

Aims: To compare the effects of alcohol on the sperm count, motility, viability and morphology in alcoholic and non-alcoholic groups. This was a cross sectional study with sample size of 51. There were 25 semen samples of alcoholics (cases) and 26 semen samples of non-alcoholics (controls).

Materials and Methods: Adequate history regarding the alcohol consumption was taken and the cases (n=25) were categorized into mild (n=17), moderate (n=8) and severe (n=0) alcoholics as per standard criteria of the CAGE Questionnaire. Semen was examined microscopically and the results were statistically analyzed using ANOVA.

Results: Mean sperm count in the non-alcoholics was 58.81 million/ml. It was reduced to 45.44 million/ml and 35.62million/ml in mild and moderate alcoholic groups respectively. (P=0.03). Actively motile sperms in non-alcoholics, mild and moderate alcoholics were found to be 58.08%, 44.41% and 30.62% respectively. (P=0.016). The percentage of sluggishly motile sperms in non-alcoholics, mild and moderate alcoholics were found to be 19.09%, 32.35% and 32.5% respectively. The effect on the percentage of immotile sperms was ambiguous. 15 out of the 26 cases of non-alcoholics showed abnormalities in the morphology. The incidence of abnormal morphology of sperm was higher in the alcoholics. All 25 cases showed abnormal sperm morphology. Alcohol causes a decrease in the sperm vitality. As the grade of alcohol increased, the lowest vitality was in the range of 20-29% and the highest being in the range of 70-79%.

Conclusion: The findings reveal that alcohol consumption had significant detrimental effects on the count, morphology and vitality of spermatozoa. It is important to create awareness among people of the adverse effects of alcohol on human health and fertility.


Alcoholism, Motility and Morphology, Semen analysis, Sperm-count

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