Cell Phones and Sperm Quality

Infertility rates are higher than ever, as is usage of cell phones. Yet, in the scientific literature, it is widely accepted and unanimously agreed on that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones seriously (and very rapidly) harms male sperm in so many different ways.

Without a doubt it’s practically impossible to find a person without (at least) one. Surely, mobile phone manufacturers couldn’t be happier! One thing is certain: the vast majority of the population in the world keep near their body, for the greatest part of the day and/or night, a device that constantly emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) at 900 MHz, to which we are inevitably (and perhaps without our consent/knowledge) exposed to. While many of us carry the phone in a purse or bag, others, especially men, carry their phone in their trousers pockets, which is really close to the reproductive organs and glands. The obvious question is “Is this healthy?” With infertility rates reaching record highs, this simple question is worth investigating.

Here is what happens in just 5 minutes of exposure…

One of the most well-studied effects of mobile phone radiation is that on sperm quality and motility. There are several in vitro studies, which essentially involve placing semen samples right next to a cell phone and examining the effects of the electromagnetic radiation on spermatozoa and then comparing to samples that are away from the cell phone. The first study of its kind, found that just five minutes of exposure to cell phone radiation had a remarkable effect on the motility of sperm [1].

The samples that were next to the mobile phone had a higher percentage of sperm with low or zero motility, compared to the control samples that were positioned far away from the phone. A similar study confirms the findings regarding sperm motility and adds that mobile phone radiation also affects negatively the DNA in the sperm [2]. More specifically, samples located near the cell phone had a significant increase in DNA damage (fragmentation). The authors of the study also measured the expression of a specific gene (CLU), which is over-produced in tissues undergoing stress. Unsurprisingly, sperm cells exposed to cell phone radiation were found to be sure stressed and the specific gene was overexpressed.

This is what happens in 1 hour of exposure…

Going one scary step further, a recent study published in the International Journal of Andrology found that 1 hour exposure to cell phone altered sperm morphology and most importantly the sperm binding capacity was significantly reduced. The morphological changes included reduction in sperm head area and acrosome percentage area. [The acrosome is a cap-like structure covering the sperm head, which contains digestive enzymes that break down the egg membrane, known as the acrosome reaction, therefore making fertilization happen].

Essentially this study is showing that when sperm is near mobile phones, one of the most critical steps for conception is sabotaged, that is the ability of sperm to break through the egg membranes. It is interesting that in all the above studies, the amount of time that sperm was exposed to mobile phone radiation is only a small fraction of the time that most men keep their mobile close to their body.