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The World Health Organization is now claiming that cisgender women of child-bearing age (those between 15 and 45) should stop drinking alcohol altogether.

For years the public health establishment has been telling women to cut back on their alcohol consumption. But now the WHO is telling cis women that they shouldn’t be drinking at all if they want children — and people are pissed.

The advice comes as part of a 37-page report on advice for female reproductive health. Critically, the advice goes beyond just telling pregnant women not to drink but rather all women who want to have children should kick the habit.

People who work in the area say that the writing has been on the wall for a long time — alcohol is a big no-no for any woman looking to conceive. But it is surprising that WHO has finally come out and said it, especially considering the huge backlash. According to The Mirror, critics have slammed the report as “unscientific, patronizing, and absurd.”

Why WHO is So Concerned

effects of alcohol on fertility

Despite the notion that the world is already overpopulated, WHO is worried that we’re headed in the opposite direction. Birth rates have dropped so low that global health professionals are getting concerned.

There are a variety of reasons for the low birth reasons, one being the rise of anti-natalism, the idea that we shouldn’t bring children into a world where the planet is quickly dying.

But for organizations like WHO, the concern is that there will soon be many more older people per person of working age, leading to all sorts of economic and financial problems.

So, Should You Really Stop Drinking if You Want Kids?

affect of alcohol on fertility

Whether anyone will take this advice seriously is unlikely. For the last fifty years, public health authorities have advised people to consume less meat and sugar, and more vegetables, but the opposite has happened. Public health advice, in general, doesn’t work, and so people worried about the knock-on impact of such advice on women’s reproductive rights may be jumping the gun here.

But if you’re thinking about the impacts of alcohol on your body, you should be aware that it can impact more than just your fertility. For instance, it increases the need for incontinence diapers at older ages. It also accelerates the aging of the skin.

On top of that, alcohol remains a major killer worldwide. 6.8% of men and 2.2% of women die from alcohol-related diseases every year.

The statistics seem to suggest the need for action. And WHO seems to agree with this. Their advice for cis women to stop drinking is part of their wider strategy of reducing alcohol consumption among populations in general. And the hope is that by linking alcohol consumption to child-bearing capacity, they can engender change among women.

Of course, nobody is suggesting a ban on drinking alcohol. However, it may lead to social changes in the future if the pressure on women to have children increases and the birth rate continues to drop to dangerously low levels.

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Categories: Health