Caffeine and fertility……….Please tell me I don’t need to stop drinking coffee!?!? By Paula Hovell on August 21, 2013

One of the reasons, that fertility treatments like invitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination can be so difficult is that in addition to the frequent doctor visits, daily injections and large sums of money required, many patients feel that they need to significantly alter their lifestyle to increase their chance for pregnancy.  In some cases, such as smoking cessation, losing weight or avoiding illicit drug use, the changes are helpful.  In other cases however, there is no demonstrable benefit.  In fact, sometimes it may be better not to change your lifestyle. A perfect example of this is caffeine consumption

Caffeine has a bad reputation in some fertility circles that is not truly warranted.  The basis for this reputation comes from studies which demonstrate that excessive caffeine intake increases the risk of pregnancy loss and decreases the chance for conception.  In most of these studies, greater than 500 mg of caffeine per day was considered excessive.  According to the same studies however, consumption of a moderate to small amount of caffeine, approximately 100-250 mg per day, does not increase risk for miscarriage or infertility.

Since most people don’t order their coffee in milligrams, it is important to know how much caffeine is in your morning cup-o-joe.  Fortunately, the center for science in the public interest has recently reviewed the caffeine content in a variety of common food and drinks (  Some of the highlights include:


Starbucks Vente (large, 20 oz): 415 mg

Starbucks Grande (medium, 16 oz): 330 mg

Starbucks Tall (small, 12 oz): 260 mg

Keurig K-cup: 75-150 mg

Dunkin Doughnuts medium (14 oz): 178 mg

MacDonald Large (16oz): 133 mg

Soda: (all 12 oz)

Pepsi MAX: 69mg

Mountain Dew: 54mg

Diet Coke: 47 mg

Dr. Pepper: 41 mg

Coca Cola: 35 mg


Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bar: 20mg

Hershey Milk Chocolate bar (1.6 oz): 9mg

Hershey’s Kiss (9 pieces) 9mg

Over the counter pills:

 Excedrin Migraine (2 tablets): 130 mg

Clearly, not all cups of coffee are created equal.  Further, just because your coffee comes in a cup, does not mean that it is equivalent to a “cup”.  With this in mind, it is probably safe for patients to have 1 small cup (12 oz or less) of regular coffee per day.  Alternatively, 2 cups of half caf (half regular, half decaffeinated) is also acceptable.  Importantly, patients should monitor alternative sources of caffeine as well.  If you are trading decaf coffee for a bag of Hershey Kisses, then you haven’t accomplished much.

Ultimately, fertility treatment is about making the best choices possible for yourself.  Every patient is unique and requires a unique plan.  For some patients abstaining from coffee may be just right for them, for others however, a cup of joe is not going to be a problem. 

If you have any questions about human reproduction, or lifestyle and fertility, don’t hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to speak with you.

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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

The Center for Fertility and Gynecology provides cutting-edge medical care in a patient-oriented and supportive setting. Drs. Michael Vermesh and Tannaz Toloubeydokhti offer all couples the best possible evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of male and female infertility. Our experienced physicians are affiliated with:

  • American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists
  • ACOG: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Medical Association
  • ASRM: American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Pacific Coast Reproductive Society
  • Resolve: The National Infertility Association
  • SREI: Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • The Seed Fertility Program

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