Men who use their cell phones more than 20 times a day have around a fifth fewer sperm per milliliter of ejaculate than men who use their cell phones a maximum of five times a day. This indirectly reduces fertility. However, high levels of cell phone use had no effect on the motility and morphology of sperm, as the study published on Wednesday in the journal “Fertility and Sterility” showed.
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2886 young men surveyed
Researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and the University of Geneva (Unige) analyzed sperm from 2,886 men aged 18 to 22 who were recruited into military corps between 2005 and 2018, like the two institutions informed. The young men were given a questionnaire about their lifestyle habits, health status and how often they use their cell phones. They were also asked where they put their device when they are not using it.
World’s largest investigation
This is the world’s largest study on the subject, said study co-author Martin Röösli from Swiss TPH to the Keystone-SDA news agency. “The question has not been taken seriously in science until now,” said Röösli. However, the data on which the new study was based was originally collected for a different analysis. The study should therefore be seen as a first step, said Röösli. In order to make more reliable statements, further investigations are necessary.
Storage location of the cell phone is not relevant
According to the Unige and Swiss TPH announcement, the analysis of the data also indicated that the storage location of the phone is not associated with poorer sperm quality. According to Röösli, the number of people who stated in the study that they did not carry their cell phones close to their body was too small to make any firm statements about it.
The study also showed that the effect of high cell phone usage decreased over the study period. The researchers explain this with the transition of transmission technology from 2G to 3G and later to 4G. “The reception of cell phones has gotten better over time, so less radiation is needed,” explained Röösli.
Radiation could be to blame
According to Röösli, this result suggests that radiation from cell phones could be to blame for the loss of sperm concentration. “But it would also be possible that other factors such as lifestyle may have distorted the results,” said the scientist.
The problem does not only exist in Switzerland. Numerous studies in other countries have shown that sperm quality has declined over the past 50 years, as Unige and Swiss TPH wrote. Experts believe that this phenomenon is due to a combination of environmental factors (endocrine disruptors, pesticides, radiation) and behavioral factors (diet, alcohol, stress, smoking).
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