Infertility: Is Your Cell Phone Messing with Your Sperm?

Having a hard time getting your wife pregnant? You’re not alone.

Over the past decade or so, scientists have been noticing a significant drop in sperm count, sperm motility (movement), and sperm concentration in men tested—all of which make it harder for couples to have babies.


Traditional Theories about Infertility

Formerly, researchers have come up with theories about what may be the reasons for this drop in fertility in men:

BPA: This is an additive to plastics found in many household products and in foods wrapped in plastic.  

Stress: Stress has been shown to decrease sexual function and interfere with the testosterone needed to produce sperm.  

Sexually transmitted infections: Bacterial infections such as gonorrhea can have an impact on the testicles, which in turn affects sperm production.  

Obesity: Animal studies have shown that implantation and fetal development decreases when sperm came from obese fathers.  

Pesticides: Men living in rural areas where farming pesticides are common have lower sperm counts than men from urban areas. Agricultural runoff gets into tap water and can disrupt hormonal processes.  

Watching TV: A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who watched 20 hours of TV or more per week had sperm counts that were 44 percent lower than those of men who didn’t watch TV.  

All of these theories probably have some merit. But you might look at this list and decide that none of these reasons really make sense in your own life. You’re not obese, you don’t watch a lot of TV, you don’t have a sexually-transmitted disease, and you live in a city. And maybe you’re even cautious about BPA in your home and food. So what the heck?

Cell Phones and Infertility

Cell phone radiation can affect fertility.It may just be your cell phone. Or more accurately, the place on your body you carry it—in your pants pocket or on your belt—too close to you know what.

There has been an abundance of studies conducted to date that have shown a link between cell phones and fertility, indicating that cell phone radiation has a negative effect on the life and strength of sperm.

A couple of years ago, an important report issued by the Environmental Working Group, a major health advocacy group, described potentially harmful effects of cell phone radiation on sperm. The report reviewed the scientific literature to date and reported that ten studies had found significant changes in sperm exposed to cell phone radiation.

“In the most striking findings, men who carried their phones in a pocket or on the belt were more likely to have lower sperm counts and/or more inactive or less mobile sperm.”  

The report highlighted the following results from the studies:

  • Men carrying a cell phone on a belt and using it intensively during a 5-day test period had a 19% drop in highly mobile sperm from previous levels.
  • Men carrying a phone in a hip pocket or on a belt had 11% fewer mobile sperm than men who kept their phone elsewhere on their body.
  • Men talking on the phone for more than an hour a day had 17% fewer highly motile sperm than men who talked less than 15 minutes a day.

Two New Studies on Sperm and Cell Phones

Recently, there have been two other more studies on the subject. The first was conducted by I. Corpinchenko et al in  . Studying the sperm from 32 healthy men with normal semen parameters, they found that the sperm in samples exposed to cell phone radiation not only had less mobility—there was also a significant amount of DNA fragmentation.

Prompted by a systematic review of ten studies published by Adams et al which demonstrated a correlation between mobile phone exposure and reduced sperm motility and viability, another team of scientists conducted a further study on the subject. Agarwal, et al of    published a study showing results from ten pooled experiments in vitro and observational human studies (using 1492 men) that suggest that exposure to RF radiation from carrying a mobile phone in the trouser pocket negatively impacts sperm quality.

What About Your Laptop?

Laptop radiation can impact sperm health.Okay, so that’s maybe an easy fix: find another way to carry your cell phone with you. Unfortunately, your cell phone isn’t the only device that may be impacting the quality and quantity of your sperm.

A study was published in the January 2012 issue of Fertility and Sterility that focused on how laptop and WiFi radiation emitted from laptops impacts sperm health.

Heading the team of researchers in Argentina, Dr. Conrado Avendano reported that they took sperm samples from 29 healthy, fertile men and measured sperm motility after a 4-hour period of exposure to WiFi radiation.

Sperm in the control group was maintained at the same temperature for the same amount of time, without exposure to WiFi. These are the results:

  • WiFi Group: 25% of the sperm stopped swimming.
  • Control Group: only 14% stopped.
  • WiFi Group: 9% of the sperm showed DNA fragmentation or irreversible damage in the genetic code.
  • Control Group: only 3% showed these signs.

In conclusion, Avendano stated:  

“We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality.”

The researchers also compared radiation emissions from laptops using WiFi to laptops without WiFi connection. Emissions from laptops with WiFi were significantly higher.

What to Do?

 Cell phones and fertility are linked.So where does this leave you? You can’t carry your cell phone in your pants pocket or on a belt, and you can’t use your laptop on your lap. How can you work? How can you live your life?

Well, you can carry your cell phone in another pocket, and use a table for your laptop. But, unfortunately, not only is that inconvenient—it’s not even safe anyway. If you do the research, you’ll see that radiation from your phone, your laptop and WiFi is hazardous to your health anyway—aside from what it does to your sperm.

The only sane thing to do is get protection from all sources of radiation, so that it doesn’t impact your sperm or create other health effects on your body. With EMF protection, you can live your life normally—and know that you’re not causing problems with making a baby.

And maybe, to be safe, it might not be a bad idea to cut down on your TV time and those extra pounds you’re carrying around, as well! In the end, it’s all about your health—and the health of your future baby.

Posted in Cell Phones

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