Can Excessive Drinking be Harmful to would-be Dads?

A recent study looked into the harm that excessive drinking can do to men and the children they have later on. WA researchers have urged men to limit their alcohol consumption before starting a family because a link has been identified between alcoholic spirits and childhood brain tumours.

While the negative effects of pregnant women drinking excessively on their children has been well documented, it has only now emerged that men’s drinking habits too could affect children. This is even more motivation for men to drink in moderation.

The WA study looked into 690 Aussie families with a child suffering from either acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or childhood brain tumours and discovered that men who consumed up to seven drinks a week in the 12 months before conception increased the risk of childhood brain tumours by almost 50 per cent.

An article on Yahoo News website explains more about the study and its findings:

The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research study also found men who drank 21 or more beers a week might also be placing their future children at greater risk of leukaemia and brain tumours.

Study authors Elizabeth Milne and Carol Bower said with recent data showing 8 per cent of men between the ages of 30 and 39 consumed at least four standard drinks a day, “a large number of men may be putting their future offspring at risk”.

The study concluded that men, as well as women, “should limit their alcohol intake when planning a pregnancy”.

Professor Bower said while there was a great deal of research on the impact that women drinking while pregnant had on babies very few studies had looked at the effects of paternal alcohol consumption.

“We don’t know too much about the causes of leukaemia or brain tumours, so there will certainly be a lot more work being done in this area,” she said.


According to Prof. Bower our entire society is drinking too much and there is evidence that suggests this drinking in fathers, especially of spirits in the year prior to conception may have a negative effect on the child.

Surprisingly the study found no evidence linking maternal alcohol consumption before pregnancy with cancer in children, but of course there may be other serious consequences for mothers who drink during pregnancy.

The study also showed some evidence linking wine consumption to a reduced risk of both childhood brain tumours and leukaemia, but according to researchers this did not change the fact that drinking while pregnant should be avoided.

The article went on to explain:

Mike Daube, director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, said the study was significant and carried important messages.

“This will certainly need to be further explored, but it shows just how far-reaching the impact of alcohol can be,” he said.

“While many people – though not enough – are aware that women should avoid alcohol in pregnancy, this tells us that men as well as women should exercise great caution about alcohol use if they are thinking about having a child.” He said the message was especially important because about half of all pregnancies in Australia were unplanned.




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