Cellphones and Sperm Counts
Submitted by: Marc C. Gittelman, M.D.
Submitted on: October 7, 2008
Q: OK, I know this is a stretch, but we are looking for any help in conceiving children. My husband is an avid cellphone user. Is there any chance this could be hurting our chances for pregnancy?
A: Early research just published in a reputable fertility journal showed that men “carrying a cellphone in a pocket while using a hands-free device may hurt a man’s sperm quality.”
Researchers placed semen samples 2.5 centimeters from a cellphone that was transmitting in talk mode. This is the typical distance from a man’s pocket to his testicles.
The researchers reported that “measurements taken after the one-hour exposure showed that sperm exposed to the cellphone contained higher levels of harmful free radicals and a decreased amount of protective antioxidants, compared with the unexposed sperm.”
These factors caused a decline in the sperm’s ability to swim and function properly.
The good news is that the researchers also reported “no significant difference in damage to the DNA of the exposed cells.”
That means the overall health of the sperm may be lower, but that it may not translate into a higher risk of a genetic problem if a pregnancy occurs from sperm exposed to phone waves.
One caution: The research is early and more study needs to be done. However, it might be a reasonable idea for couples trying to get pregnant that if the man uses a hands –free wireless device; he should carry his cellphone as far away from his family jewels as is reasonable.