Men who speak on their cellphone for more than one hour a day or keep their phone close to their groin risk significant damage to the quality of their sperm and their ability to father a child, according to researchers at Haifa’s Technion- Israel Institute of Technology and Carmel Medical Center.
Dr. Yulia Sheinfeld and colleagues in the division of fertility and in-vitro fertilization of the obstetrics/gynecology department at Carmel published their findings in Reproductive BioMedicine Online.
Between 30 percent and 40% of all infertility cases involve male fertility problems. Some studies have shown a continuous decline in semen quality in recent decades. One postulated contributing factor is radio frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted from cellphones.
For the current study, questionnaires assessing demographic data and characteristics of cell phone usage were completed by 106 men referred for semen analysis.
The researchers found that talking on cellphones for an hour a day or more and talking on the devices while they are charging are behaviors that are associated with higher rates of abnormal semen concentration. Among men who reported holding their phones within 50 centimeters of the groin, a higher rate of abnormal sperm concentration was found. Semen concentration was abnormal among 47% of those who stored their phone in their pants pockets, while it was abnormal in only 11% of the general male population.
Other factors in reducing fertility included smoking.
The authors said the study was small and urged that large-scale studies be carried out. However, in the meantime, they recommended male users to speak less on cellphones, as well as to avoid sleeping next to them, carrying them near the groin area, or speaking on the devices while they are charging.
Instead, the researchers suggest using earphones or a speaker phone.