If you’ve got low sperm count and can’t figure out why, it may be because of your cell phone and laptop. Researchers have recently found a link between the radiation emitted by these devices and male infertility.
In the past, research studies on low sperm count focused on such things as chromosome defects, hormone imbalances and sperm duct defects. More recently, scientists began studying environmental causes, such as medications (especially steroids and hormones), alcohol, tobacco, pesticides, diet and heavy metal exposure. They even researched prolonged bicycling.
Now they’ve turned to radiation emitted by cell phones and laptops and have found some startling results.
Low Sperm Count and Cell Phone Radiation
Two recent studies have found a link between cell phone radiation and infertility in men. One study was conducted at the Medical University of Graz, in Austria; the other at the Queen’s University in Canada. Men in the studies who reported cell phone use showed lower levels of the luteinizing hormone (LH), an important reproductive hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain, and higher levels of circulating testosterone.
The researchers hypothesized that even though cell phone radiation appears to create higher levels of circulating testosterone, the radiation may nonetheless block the conversion of this testosterone to a more active, potent form of testosterone associated with sperm production and fertility.
Carrying a Cell Phone in a Pocket or on a Belt
Another report on potentially harmful effects of cell phone radiation on sperm has recently been released by a major health advocacy group, the Environmental Working Group. The report reviews the scientific literature to date and reports that ten studies have found significant changes in sperm exposed to cell phone radiation. The report states:
“In the most striking findings, men who carried their phones in a pocket or on the belt were more likely to have lower sperm counts and/or more inactive or less mobile sperm.” [“mobile” or “motile” refers to moving sperm]
Significant results from the studies are as follows:
Men talking on the phone for more than an hour a day had 17% fewer highly motile sperm than men who talked less than 15 minutes a day.
Men carrying a phone in a hip pocket or on a belt had 11% fewer mobile sperm than men who kept their phone elsewhere on their body.
Men carrying a cell phone on a belt and using it intensively during a 5-day test period had a 19% drop in highly motile sperm from previous levels.
What about Bluetooth and Other Headsets?
Using a Bluetooth or another type of headset can actually make things worse, according to several studies. A man’s sperm are still being exposed to the radiation, since he probably keeps his cell phone in his pocket or on a belt.
It’s important to note as well that in other studies on cell phones, it’s been found that brain tumors are more likely with the use of a Bluetooth—simply because the exposure to the head is more prolonged. So it’s not a great idea to use this device anyway.
Link between Laptop Radiation and Male Infertility
Laptop radiation is also a problem to sperm. A study was published in the January 2012 issue of Fertility and Sterility that focused on how radiation emitted from laptops impacts sperm health.
Dr. Conrado Avendano, heading a team of researchers in Argentina, reported that they studied semen samples from 29 healthy, fertile men and measured sperm motility after a 4-hour period of exposure to WiFi radiation.
Sperm in the control group was maintained at the same temperature for the same amount of time, without exposure to WiFi. Here are the results:
WiFi Group: 25% of the sperm stopped swimming.
Control Group: only 14% stopped.
WiFi Group: 9% of the sperm showed DNA fragmentation or irreversible damage in the genetic code.
Control Group: only 3% showed these signs.
“We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality.”
Another study was done, comparing radiation emissions in laptops using WiFi to laptops without WiFi connection. Emissions from laptops with WiFi were significantly higher.
Another Laptop-Infertility Danger
In other studies done on low sperm count, researchers looked at a condition known as “scrotal hyperthermia” (elevated testicle temperature). This condition can be caused by a man sitting with a laptop in his lap for hours at a time. Among other things, scrotal hyperthermia has been shown to negatively impact sperm quality and to cause decreased fertility.
Can’t Live Without Your Cell Phone & Laptop?
It’s probable that you’re going to balk at the notion of having to give up your cell phone or laptop. Your livelihood as well as your lifestyle may not survive without them.
There are certain precautions you can take. Most important might be using the speaker option on your phone and texting more often. And avoid using your laptop on your lap. These precautions can help.
Another simpler solution is to use EMF protection products that provide protection from wireless radiation. Don’t settle for inexpensive products claiming to protect you, however. Shop carefully. Check the research, the testimonials and the longevity of the company. Your sperm—and your health—are invaluable.