Men who use their mobile phones frequently have a 21 percent lower sperm concentration, according to a new study.

The quality of a man’s sperm is determined by factors such as sperm concentration, total sperm count, how well the sperm swim, and the size and shape of the sperm.

Many studies have shown that sperm quality has declined over the past fifty years, with sperm counts dropping from an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter to 47 million.

This decline is thought to be due to a combination of environmental factors such as pesticides and radiation, and lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking, alcohol and stress.

The University of Geneva team collected data on 2,886 men aged 18 to 22, who provided a semen sample.  Participants also answered questions about their cell phone use and where they put them when not in use

The University of Geneva team collected data on 2,886 men aged 18 to 22, who provided a semen sample. Participants also answered questions about their cell phone use and where they put them when not in use

Researchers wanted to investigate whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones could affect sperm quality.

The University of Geneva team collected data on 2,886 men aged 18 to 22, who provided a semen sample.

Participants also answered questions about their cell phone use and where they put them when not in use.

Analysis showed that there was a link between frequent mobile phone use and lower sperm concentration.

Men who used their phones more than 20 times a day had a 21 percent decrease in sperm concentration compared to those who used their phones no more than once a week.

This association was more evident during the early years of the study, between 2005 and 2007, and gradually decreased over time until 2018.

Researcher Martin Roosli, who worked on the study, said: ‘This trend is consistent with the transition from 2G to 3G, and then from 3G to 4G, which has led to a reduction in the transmission power of phones.’

The results also showed that where the men kept their phones ? for example in their pockets ? had no influence on sperm quality.

Writing in the journal Fertility & Sterility, the researchers explain that one in six couples have problems conceiving, with around half of cases due to the male partner.

?The use of mobile phones has increased significantly in recent decades,? they said, ?and there is growing concern about the potential harmful effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by these devices on human health and especially on reproductive functions.

‘This study suggests that higher cell phone use is associated with lower sperm concentration and lower total sperm count.’

They added that the mechanism by which cell phone use may affect the male reproductive system remains “unclear.”

First author Rita Rahban said: ‘Do the microwaves emitted by mobile phones have a direct or indirect effect?

‘Do they cause a significant temperature increase in the testicles? Do they influence the hormonal regulation of sperm production?

“This is all yet to be discovered.”

Commenting on the research, Professor Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Manchester, said: ‘There have been loads of studies into this, and they have all been a bit rubbish.

‘But I have to say this is quite a good article; it’s the kind of paper I’d like to make myself.

‘This is just a correlation, so from this study we cannot definitively say that mobile phones are bad for sperm. All you can say is that there is a connection.

“What I like about it is that you see a gradation over the years, suggesting that 2G was worse than 4G.”

Asked if he was surprised by the results, he said: ‘Yes, because I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the risk.

‘I don’t think men should worry about this, but be aware.

‘(The effect) seems to diminish over the years, so this may be historical.’

Professor Pacey added: ‘While this paper gives researchers a clear sense of direction for their future studies, I’m not sure it really changes the advice I would give to men concerned about their fertility.

‘If men are concerned, it is relatively easy for them to keep their phone in a bag and limit its use. But there is currently no evidence that their sperm quality will improve. As for me, I’ll continue to keep my phone in my pocket.’

Professor Malcolm Sperrin, Fellow at the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, said: ‘The findings certainly stimulate the need for further research.

‘There is, however, an essential need on the part of the lay reader to avoid over-interpreting the findings and drawing conclusions that are difficult to justify.

‘Using a questionnaire to determine phone usage is likely to be associated with large error bars, but it is challenging to see how this data could otherwise be obtained; Self-reporting is notoriously sensitive to uncertainties.

‘There are likely numerous confounding factors that the authors and future researchers will be able to explore, such as the hypothesis that increased phone use is associated with anxiety, which in turn causes lower sperm quality.’

THE CAUSES OF MALE INFERTILITY

The most common cause of infertility in men is poor quality semen, the fluid containing sperm that is ejaculated during sex.

Possible reasons for abnormal sperm include:

  • a lack of sperm ? you may have a very low sperm count or no sperm at all
  • sperm that does not move properly ? this makes it more difficult for sperm to swim to the egg
  • abnormal sperm ? sperm can sometimes have an abnormal shape, making it harder for them to move and fertilize an egg

Many cases of abnormal sperm are unexplained.

There is a link between increased scrotal temperature and reduced sperm quality, but it is uncertain whether wearing loose-fitting underwear improves fertility.

Testicles

The testicles produce and store sperm. If they are damaged, it can seriously affect the quality of your sperm.

This can happen due to:

  • an infection of your testicles
  • testicular cancer
  • testicular surgery
  • a problem with your testicles that you were born with (a birth defect)
  • when one or both testicles have not descended into the scrotum, the loose skin sac that contains your testicles (undescended testicles)
  • injury to your testicles

Sterilization

Some men opt for a vasectomy if they do not want children or any more children.

It involves cutting and closing the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles (the vas deferens) so that your semen no longer contains sperm.

A vasectomy can be reversed, but reversals are usually unsuccessful.

Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism is an abnormally low level of testosterone, the male sex hormone involved in making sperm.

It can be caused by a tumor, illicit drug use, or Klinefelter syndrome, a rare syndrome in which a male is born with an extra female chromosome.

Medicines and medicines

Certain types of medications can sometimes cause infertility problems.

These medications are listed below:

  • sulfasalazine ? an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat conditions such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis; sulfasalazine may reduce sperm count, but the effects are temporary and your sperm count should return to normal when you stop taking it
  • anabolic steroids ? often used illegally to build muscle and improve athletic performance; Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids can reduce sperm count and sperm mobility
  • chemotherapy ? drugs used in chemotherapy can sometimes seriously reduce sperm production
  • herbal remedies ? some herbal remedies, such as root extracts of the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii, may affect sperm production or reduce the size of your testicles
  • Illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, can also affect sperm quality.

Source: NHS