This article is the third part in a series of articles titled ‘7 disadvantages of mobile phones’. The first two parts:
- Mobile Phone Disadvantage #1 – An Unsafe Safety Standard
- Mobile Phone Disadvantage #2 – Negative Health Effects
In case you have not read the first part Unsafe Safety Standard:
Mobile phones transmit and receive Radio Frequency (RF) signals in order to communicate. The RF signals from mobile phones fall within the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This radiation is also referred to as microwave radiation or electromagnetic radiation.
In short: Mobile phones use microwave radiation to communicate.
Mobile Phone Disadvantage #3 – Cause of Infertility in Man
Infertility affects approximately 15% of couples of reproductive age, nearly half of these cases are due to the men’s infertility.
This article will show that the microwave radiation emitted through mobile phone use is a cause of infertility in man.
The 2008 study titled ‘Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study’ came to the following conclusion:
…our results suggest that the use of cell phones by men is associated with a decrease in semen quality. The decrease in sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology is related to the duration of exposure to cell phones.
This study has recently been reported in the media, giving the impression that the effects of mobile phones on semen quality is a new discovery. This is not the case, there is very strong but underreported evidence with regard to the harmful effects of mobile phones on male fertility.
The section below refers to several articles and studies, all published in recent years.
Derias et al state in the conclusion of ‘Growing concern over the safety of using mobile phones and male fertility’:
With regard to the potential damaging effects on the male reproductive system, several studies have been carried out on animals. These studies revealed a wide spectrum of possible effects that range from an insignificant effect to variable degrees of testicular damage and reduction of different sperm parameters.
Many of the tests in this area have been performed on animals, since it is hard to analyze the sperm generation in humans; The formation of a spermatozoon takes 11-13 weeks. Another reason is that some of the studies analyze the testicles of test animals, an unfortunate sacrifice very few men would be willing to make.
However, there have been many studies that have analyzed the mobile phone usage of men and the effect on the subsequent provided semen. One such study concludes that just carrying a mobile phone affects human sperm:
…storage of mobile phones close to the testes had a significant negative impact on sperm concentration and the percentage of motile sperm. These trends suggest that recent concerns over long-term exposure to the electromagnetic irradiation emitted by mobile phones should be taken more seriously, given the growing trend for deterioration in the male germ line.
In a 2005 Hungarian study titled ‘Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality’, Dr Fejez et al analyzed the impact of mobile phone use on the semen of 371 men. This study concluded that the longer a mobile phone is used on a daily basis, the bigger the effect on the sperm quality. Longer exposure resulted in larger percentage of slower sperm, which may be caused by “electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones”.
Furthermore, a Polish study titled ‘Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility’ was conducted from June 2004 until May 2006 and used 304 men. A short section from the study’s summary:
In the analysis of the effect of [mobile phone] equipment on the semen it was noted that an increase in the percentage of sperm cells of abnormal morphology is associated with the duration of exposure to the waves emitted by the [mobile] phone. It was also confirmed that a decrease in the percentage of sperm cells in vital progressing motility in the semen is correlated with the frequency of using mobile phones.
The full conclusion of this study consists out of two points:
1. A decrease in the percentage of live sperm cells in a vital, progressive motility in semen is correlated with the frequency of usage of mobile phones.
2. An increase in the percentage of sperm cells with abnormal morphology is associated with the duration of exposure to the waves emitted by [mobile phone] equipment.
The studies that have been mentioned thus far, all indicate that mobile phone use is a cause of infertility in man. The study that is mentioned below was performed on mice and looks into the impact mobile phone radiation has on the DNA of sperm, and the subsequent impact on the conceived offspring.
In 2005, a study titled ‘Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline’ was published in the ‘International Journal of Andrology’. Andrology deals with male health, particularly relating to the problems of the male reproductive system and urological problems that are unique to men.
This study on mice suggests that the microwave radiation emitted by mobile phones causes significant damage to the cellular DNA of maturing sperm. Normally, DNA damage is repaired by the female reproductive system, between fertilization and the first cell division.
Mistakes at this point have the potential to create mutations that could disrupt the normality of embryonic development and the health and well being of the offspring.
DNA damage to maturing sperm caused by mobile phone radiation can results in damaged DNA in a newborn, this phenomenon is called ‘male-mediated developmental toxicity’, making the offspring more prone to genetic disease, birth defects and childhood cancer.
Male-mediated development toxicity can in turn cause a variety of health issues to the child, depending on the part of the DNA that was damaged. It might therefore be the microwave radiation exposure of the father that plays a bigger role than the child’s exposure in the development of some childhood diseases.
The microwave radiation exposure used in this study was much less than the radiation emitted by mobile phones:
As a consequence, the reproductive health risks associated with [microwave radiation] exposure may be even more serious than those reported in this study.
In conclusion, according to many studies mobile phone use has a negative impact on sperm quality. The longer one uses a mobile phone per day, the greater the impact on the sperm. Mobile phone use can therefore be considered to be a cause of infertility in man.
Additionally, the latter study shows the risk of DNA damage in the sperm, potentially causing long term problems for the conceived children.
The good news seems to be that preventing microwave radiation exposure should undo the negative effects on the male fertility, and prevent the DNA damage.
Unfortunately, the male-mediated development toxicity is not the only effect microwave radiation has on children. The next article will look into the effect that mobile phone radiation has on children.
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