Cellphone use may be lowering sperm count

Electromagnetic radiation could be affecting male fertility

Man holding cellphone.
Cellphone radiation was higher in older cellphone models than newer ones
(Image credit: LaylaBird / Getty Images)

Male fertility has been on the decline over the last 50 years and now researchers have found another reason for the statistic: cellphones. A new study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found "significant exposure-response trends" between decreased total sperm count and concentration, and "increasing frequency of mobile phone use." Specifically, "men between the ages of 18 and 22 who said they used their phones more than 20 times a day had a 21% higher risk for a low overall sperm count," CNN summarized.

Cellphones emit electromagnetic radiation that has, until now, not been directly connected to fertility. "Cellphones are constantly sending and receiving signals and they are going to receive and send more intense signals when they’re in use," Alexander Pastuszak, assistant professor of surgery and urology at The University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, told CNN. The study also found that the impact on sperm count decreased as phone technology improved. "The biggest effect was … seen with older 2G and 3G phones compared to modern 4G and 5G versions," Allan Pacey, deputy vice president and deputy dean of the faculty of biology, medicine and health at the University of Manchester, told the outlet. 

Despite the findings, scientists say there is no cause for panic. "This is a fascinating and novel study which should not cause alarm or drastic changes in habits," Alison Campbell, chief scientific officer of the Care Fertility Group, said in a statement. The findings showed that cellphones did not affect sperm motility or shape. "Men looking to conceive, or wanting to improve their sperm health should exercise (but not overheat in their groin area), eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking and limit alcohol and seek help if they are having problems conceiving."

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