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Can Cocaine Use by the Father Cause Birth Defects?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    We are trying to start a family and I have had 2 miscarriages in a row. My doctor says I am physically healthy in my womb so I should not worry about it too much its just bad luck. The one thing my doctor does not know is that my husband takes cocaine 3 or 4 times a week. Do you know if this can lead to miscarriage or birth defects?

  • Dr. Stuart Shipko Says ...
    Dr. Stuart Shipko

    To date there is no body of scientific knowledge to support that drug use by the father will cause birth defects in the child.  In 1991 a study was done which indicated that cocaine could bind to the outside of the sperm, and that the cocaine might get into the egg at the time of conception.  This was speculative and has never been studied.  The whole area of paternal contributions to miscarriage related to toxins and substance abuse is an area that remains unstudied.  The common wisdom is that only the drug use of the mother is important, and for this reason I suspect that it is difficult to get a grant to study this problem.  While the problem remains unstudied, this does not mean that there is no problem.  It would be interesting to see how you do if your husband were to abstain.


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