Last week we published a post on how men can increase their fertility. Dr. Morice’s tubal reversal patients are always looking for ways to boost their fertility. Since then, researchers have published a new finding that we think our tubal ligation reversal patients will want to know.
The researchers noticed that infertility rates are at about 14% in middle and high income countries. About 40% of the infertility cases are caused by male factor infertility. Sperm quality has been declining in these countries, yet the reason remains unknown. Meanwhile, cell phones have become ubiquitous. The researchers thought it was time to evaluate whether this new environmental factor (cell phones) may be influencing sperm quality. Specifically, they examined the effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) which cell phones emit.
The researchers examined 10 studies that compared cell phone use with male fertility. The combined studies included close to 1500 semen samples from adult men. The motility, viability, and concentration of the semen was examined and compared between sperm with no cell phone exposure and those with exposure.
- Motility: Motility is crucial to fertility for sperm. Motility describes a sperm’s ability to move through a woman’s reproductive tract to reach an egg. Decreased fertility leads to a decreased chance of sperm reaching the egg for fertilization. The analysis revealed that the sperm of men who reported no cell phone use were better able to move towards an egg. 8% better, to be exact. 50-85% of these sperm moved towards an egg. This percentage fell by 8% in semen samples of males who reported cell phone use.
- Viability: Viability describes the percentage of sperm in the semen that are alive. Sperm viability was also decreased by an average 9% in samples taken from men who use cell phones.
- Concentration: Sperm concentration is the concentration of sperm in ejaculate. 15 million sperm per mL of ejaculate is considered a normal concentration. No clear differences in sperm concentration were seen between men who used cell phones and those who did not.
Based on the data, the researchers conclude that cell phone use does negatively affect sperm quality by decreasing motility and viability. Electromagnetic radiation emitted at the same frequency of mobile phones has been shown to increase mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA fragmentation in sperm, which can decrease both motility and viability. This is in line with the results of the data analysis.
Some may believe it is the heat of the cell phone in a man’s pocket that decreases sperm quality. Heat interferes with spermatogenesis, however, so if heat was the main culprit then we would expect to see decreased sperm concentration rather than motility and viability.
The definition of mobile phone exposure remains unclear in this analysis. Is it only when the cell phone is in the pocket that it poses a risk? Or is having a phone within 5 feet of you also dangerous?
A second study linked using WiFi on your laptop to decreased sperm quality. They suggested not keeping a laptop on one’s lap near the testes to avoid this.
Clearly, researchers are unsure where to draw the line between safe and potentially dangerous places to keep your mobile phone. The truth is that the data is just not there yet. In this case, we like to err on the side of caution. We suggest you keep the mobile phone out of your pocket and away from you unless you’re using it, especially if you’re trying to conceive.
Are you or a loved one struggling with infertility? Are you interested in tubal reversal surgery? Dr. Morice specializes in tubal reversal surgery and fertility at Atchafalaya Gynecology and Obstetrics in Morgan City, LA. Contact us today for a free tubal reversal consultation at (985) 702-BABY or firstname.lastname@example.org.