Although there are a multitude of explanations available for couples experiencing fertility issues, and the possibility of infertility for men and women around the globe is expected from time to time, recent studies have found that there is a substantially higher rate of infertility in middle to high income countries. Previously there was no definitive cause for this difference, but a new study has shown that mobile phones being constantly stored in men’s pockets might be the trigger in causing low sperm count and therefore decreasing the chance of fertilization during intercourse.
Results From The United Kingdom
Dr. Fiona Matthews, a researcher from Exeter University in the United Kingdom has recently released information stating that Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation, also known as RF-EMR, could be causing infertility in men. The study used to determine how the EF-EMR was affecting sperm was completed using data from 1500 different sperm samples which were obtained from sperm banks that men had visited. Dr. Matthews, who is an expert on Mammalian Biology and the program director for Biosciences and Animal Behavior at the university created a team to carry out the reviews over a period of 10 individual studies. Science Daily writes: “Most of the global adult population own mobile phones, and around 14% of couples in high and middle income countries have difficulty conceiving.”
In the control groups more than half of the sperm showed normal movement, but this average fell by 8% points overall when mobile phone exposure was present. The sperm concentration was less clear and less viable. Throughout the 10 tests, one showed that there was an 11% drop for those men who held the phone anywhere on the body, another showed 19% for those who kept it on a belt, and a third 17% for men who spoke on the phone for more than an hour a than those men who spoke for less than 15 minutes a day.
Other Findings On The Subject
Carrying a cell phone in your pocket or on a belt in a holster isn’t the only way that fertility can be affected, although other studies have shown similar results in other species. Two lab reports filed by Kesari in 2011 and Mailankot in 2009 showed that other animals such as rats and rabbits have had similar drops in fertility when mobile phone radiation is present. In the past, many semen concerns regarding quality and concentration have stemmed from poor health or mental health issues. Catherine Paddock, Ph.D. of Medical News Today writes: “Meanwhile, Medical News Today recently learned of a study that found a link between being stressed and reduced semen quality in men. “
Other causes for infertility in men have been linked to a high consumption of alcohol, which is why many doctors recommend that patients forego drinking when they’re trying to conceive. Another factor that can impede pregnancy is smoking or drugs, which can also affect the body in negative ways. Some factors can be controlled, like medications, cancer treatments, and environmental toxins that you expose yourself to, while others are inescapable, like age.
What This Means For Women
Throughout the study, no published studies were found that looked at the way that cell phone radiation affected the reproductive system of women. Unfortunately, these types of tests would be far more difficult and highly invasive to perform as there are procedures and medical techniques that would need to be called upon for each sample. With this being said, there have been published articles, like one in Turkey during 2009 that have come to the conclusion that while mobile phone radiation might not harm a woman’s chances at conceiving it could affect the unborn fetus. The study found that radiation twice a day for a period of 15 minutes produced mutations in baby rats. A second study performed in 2012 through Yale University School of Medicine found that cell phone radiation during the gestation period of mice caused impaired memory and hyperactive problems. The Environmental Working Group claims: “There have been similar findings in two human studies. UCLA researchers reported that cell phone exposure during pregnancy and after birth was associated with behavioral problems in young children.”
More than 40% of cases of infertility may be due to a problem with the male sperm, but this leaves a 60% window where infertility falls on the mother, and while there’s no current testing being processed on radiation and the ovaries, this doesn’t mean that women escape the mobile phone infertility problem that is beginning to rise throughout North America and other technologically advanced continents.
Making a Difference
In order to prevent any damage from occurring before fertility treatments and hormone therapy seem like the only option, men and women should both consider travelling with their mobile phones away from their bodies. It might seem like transferring a device from a pocket or holster could be the answer, but if radiation from these electronics is currently causing issues with sperm, there is reason to believe that constant daily contact with other regions could be harmful as well. Denise Mann of Web MD explains: “Men who use these hands-free devices tend to carry their cell phones in their pants pocket or clipped to their belts at the waist while in talk mode. As a result, they may be exposing their testicles to damaging radiofrequency electromagnetic waves.”
Putting your cellular device in a purse, backpack, briefcase, diaper bag, or other form of carry-all during travel is a good idea. You might also consider turning it off when it’s not in use, so that if you are carrying it close to your person you aren’t being directly affected by any form of radiation that may be emitted by the communication tool.
Ultimately it’s important to monitor the output of toxins, radiation, and other environmental and technological factors that may cross your path during your day to day life when considering getting pregnant. A visit to a fertility clinic or a consultation with your family doctor may help you gain more insight on your personal reproduction health and what could be improved.