Valentine’s Day and romance, even conception, occupy our thoughts this time of year. Why do we devote this day to romance? A popular legend has it that Roman emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he thought that single men made better soldiers. A priest named Valentine objected to this decree, and secretly performed marriages for young soldiers. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was sent to prison where he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before his death, he sent his lover a letter signed, “From your Valentine.”
Valentine’s Day is now celebrated by couples everywhere, and is toasted with wine (my suggestions here), which brings up the question, “What is the effect of wine on conception?”
A U.K. study by Dr. Allan Pacey, published in 2014 in the journal Human Reproduction, found that alcohol did not affect the sperm morphology of males. The only major lifestyle factor to have a negative effect on sperm size and shape was smoking cannabis.
Another study published in 2013 in Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine linked moderate drinking to healthier sperm. This Polish study found that men who drank wine up to three times per week created stronger sperm, which are better swimmers, increasing the chance of fertilization.
For women, the medical community recommends that they abstain from alcohol when planning to conceive, and throughout pregnancy. Women should not, however, be alarmed if some alcohol is consumed before pregnancy, according to current scientific evidence.
One glass of wine on Valentine’s Day is a small indulgence that is unlikely to negatively impact the chances of conceiving. If conception is not the objective, be assured that scientific studies have shown that one to two glasses of red wine a day increases female libido and improves sexual function. Dark chocolate has a similar positive effect on female sexual desire.