Everyone is aware of the fact that consuming hard drink and smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus and can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). And babies with FAS faces complications such as stunted growth, retarded brain, nervous system dysfunction, isolation and other social problems. So far, father was not thought to be contributing to such abnormalities. However, in a recent research claims to prove that fathers are even more liable and therefore need to keep a check on their lifestyle. Fathers indulged in alcohol, smoking, drugs and exposure to some harmful industrial compounds, had characteristics of the sperm cells altered in a way, which is harmful for the fetus.
For the study, researchers gave different concentration of alcohol to one group of male mice and saline to another group of male mice. These mice were then mated and fetuses from these fathers were studied. The results confirmed that the alcohol consumption by the fathers affect the normal fetal growth.
Most of the fetuses resulting from the male mice those were given alcohol, showed abnormal growth of the organs and or poor brain development. On the contrary, fetuses from the mice given saline showed normal development. These indicate that abnormalities in the fetus development are proposed at fertilization. And it is believed that alcohol intake alters the genes of the sperm cells that ensures normal development of the fetus. The mutation in the sperm genes can cause miscarriage, birth deformity and other disorders in the fetus.
When researchers studied children of alcohol consuming fathers, while the mothers were teetotaller, they found that such children were not totally malformed, but they did show some signs of functional and intellectual deficiency.
Until now, it was not known that the lifestyle of the fathers could also have a direct affect on their unborn babies. This revolutionary research confirms that fathers are equally liable and their preconception habits can cause serious abnormalities in the developing fetus.
Researchers conducted another study in which alcohol supply was stopped and the mice were given time in order to restore their natural hormone levels. The fetus of such male mice was then examined and the researchers found that they still showed stunted development. These findings confirm that the alcohol can have long lasting effect, even when used for a limited period. And so it is advisable for the future parents to quit alcohol from today, because it is now known that alcohol irrespective of whether father or mother consumes it, can lead to abnormal fetus and other problems.