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Cell Phones Can Damage Fertility

The message from a number of studies that have sought to evaluate the impact of cell phones on fertility is that talk-time can significantly impair sperm health. The more you talk, the more sperm are damaged especially sperm counts. So far studies have focused only on male fertility but as the damage appears to be caused by talk time when the phone is against the head many surmise that female infertility could be similarly negatively affected. Female infertility is controlled by master glands in the brain as is male fertility and this is where cell phones are thought to interfere.

Because cellphones may damage the DNA of sperm cells, it would be wise to avoid - or seriously minimize - cell phone use, even if his sperm results look stellar. Unless you have a sperm DNA fragmentation test it is hard to know how sperm are being effected by cell phone radiation at this critical cellular level. Sperm DNA can be damaged effecting sperm quality even when counts, morphology and motility are still high. Here is a quick summary of the research to date to motivate you to switch back to your land-line - or buy a protective headset - more on that later.

One study of 361 men attending an infertility clinic, suggested strongly that use of cell phones - especially when talk-time is prolonged - can adversely affect sperm quality in various ways. The study showed marked decreases in sperm counts, motility, viability and morphology, all of which could contribute significantly to male infertility. The researchers concluded that:

"Use of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men by decreasing the sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology. The decrease in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to cell phones and independent of the initial semen quality." (Agarwal et al., 2007)

A different study on 371 men, showed that the duration of time when the phone was simply in possession or on your body could have a negative effect as could talk-time. This study showed that sperm motility was especially negatively effected. This study concluded that:

"The prolonged use of cell phones may have negative effects on the sperm motility characteristics." (Fejes et al., 2005).

Another small study of 13 men with normal fertility, assessed the effects of 6 hours a day of talk-time over 5 days on their sperm parameters, the results demonstrated a significant decrease in sperm motility. (Davoudi et al., 2002).

Other studies have directly exposed semen samples to cell phone radiation for brief periods of time and found that profound changes happen rapidly - even after just 5 minutes. Exposing semen to cell phone radiation for 5 minutes significantly decreased sperm motility. (Erogul et al., 2006).

A similar study found that there was a decrease in sperm motility and viability after direct exposure of the semen to cell phone radiation and that sperm suffered significant oxidative damage. (Agarwal et al., 2008).

Even keeping a cell phone on or close to your waist can decrease sperm concentration, compared to men who either don't use a cell phone or who store the phone elsewhere (Kilgallon and Simmons, 2005).

There are many theories on how cell phones cause such negative effects. Because it is talk-time that has the most impact it is theorized that the brain that is being negatively impacted - and this could affect female fertility similarly. So here are a few tips for minimizing your risks:

Use a land-line whenever possible
Use a speaker phone when possible
Hold the phone well away from your body when you send a text
Avoid keep your phone on your body keep it away from you
Avoid sleep with your phone close you your body
Use a protective headset proven to work
When purchasing a phone choose a low-radiation model and network

This could be invaluable information when trying to conceive especially if sperm health is already and issue, simply having your guy use his cell phone less - and minimizing use yourself - may help you to become pregnant faster.

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References:
Ashok Agarwal, Fnu Deepinder, Rakesh K. Sharma, Geetha Ranga, Jianbo Li. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertility and Sterility 2008 Jan;89(1):124- 8.

Fnu Deepinder, Kartikeya Makkar, Ashok Agarwal. Cell phones and male infertility: dissecting the relationship. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 2007 Sep; 15(3):266-70.

Fejes I, Zavaczki Z, Szollosi J, Koloszar S, Daru J, Kovacs L, et al. Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality? Arch Androl 2005;51:385-93.

Ashok agarwal, Nisarg Desai, Kartikeya Makker, Alex Varghese, Rand Mouradi, Edmund Sabanegh, Rakesh Sharma. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves ( RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2008 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Davoudi M, Brossner C and Kuber W. The influence of electromagnetic waves on sperm motility. Urol Urogynacol 2002;19.

Erogul O, Oztas E, Yildirim I, Kir T, Aydur E, Komesli G, et al. Effects of electromagnetic radiation from a cellular phone on human sperm motility: an in vitro study. Arch Med Res 2006;37:840-3.

Kilgallon SJ and Simmons LW 2005

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