Cell Phones and Infertility

The Wonders Of Technology

Technology is terrific. Cell phones have made it possible to stay in touch wherever you are and now, with the advent of hands-free devices, a man doesn't have to break the law when talking on his cell phone and driving his car. It's simply amazing! However, if that man is planning a family, he may want to rethink where he stashes his phone on his person. Even with a hands-free device, if a man keeps his cell phone in his pants pocket or hooks it onto his belt while keeping it in talk mode, he could be endangering his procreative abilities.

But, What Is That Technology Doing To You?

It's no secret that radiofrequency electromagnetic waves create an overabundance of free radicals in the body. That research has been out for some time. Free radicals are what you could call rogue molecules and they've been implicated in a number of diseases as well as fertility issues such as sperm motility and viability. Once again, researchers are delving into the effects of cell phone usage and male infertility and perhaps one reason for this is because male fertility is being affected with signs of sperm counts dropping over the past decade as cell phones have become a permanent attachment to more people than ever before.

Another Study And Follow-Up To Prove The Point

Cleveland Clinic fertility specialist Ashok Agarwal, lead author of a new study on the effects of heavy cell-phone use, has done a follow-up lab experiment to see what happens to sperm that is exposed to the amount and type of radiation that is emitted from cell phones. Even though it has been thought, and often reported, that cell phone use does not affect male fertility, the reality is quite different.

In the study that involved 361 men, which was published last year, the results showed a direct correlation between increased cell-phone use and poor sperm quality. The follow up involved a lab test which looked at sperm taken from 23 healthy men and nine with fertility problems. The sperm was divided into two groups, a control group and a test group and the test group sperm was then exposed to a cell phone in "talk" mode at the radiation level used by cell phones in the US. The distance observed was the same as it would be if the cell phone was in the pocket of a pair of pants and the exposure time was one hour. Motility, viability and cellular or molecular changes were observed.

What The Test Results Showed

Dr. Agarwal reported the following findings of this testing: "There were 85 percent more free radicals generated by the exposed sperm samples in both healthy and infertile specimens versus the control group, and a six percent decrease in antioxidants in the exposed samples, the chemicals that fight free-radical damage. Motility, or what proportion of sperm are moving, decreased by seven percent and the viability, or the percentage of sperm that is alive...decreased by 11 percent. That was for both groups, the healthy men and men with fertility problems, as compared to a control group that had no exposure."

More well-designed studies are in the process, including the use of a sophisticated computer model that will mimic real-time cell-phone use, recreating exactly how men use their cell phones and how it affects their fertility.


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