Male infertility has become a growing concern, with compromised fertility believed to contribute to approximately half of clinical infertility cases. Experts have observed a significant decline in male sperm counts over the past few decades, further highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue. A recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute suggests that smartphone use may be associated with lower sperm concentration and total sperm count in young adult males. The study involved recruiting 2,886 men between the ages of 18 and 22 from military recruitment centers over a period of 13 years. The participants provided semen samples and answered questions about their reproductive and overall health, lifestyle habits, and frequency of mobile phone use. The results showed that men who reported using their phones once a week had significantly higher sperm concentration compared to those who used their phones more than 20 times daily.
The study also found that transitions to newer generations of mobile networks, such as 3G and 4G, may have mitigated the impact on sperm count, possibly due to the lower transmitting power of these phones. Additionally, the study examined where participants kept their phones when not in use and surprisingly found no correlation between carrying phones in the pants and lower semen quality parameters.
According to the World Health Organization, a sperm concentration below 15 million per milliliter may significantly reduce the chances of conceiving a child with a partner, and the likelihood of pregnancy decreases further when the sperm concentration falls below 40 million per milliliter. Research has shown that sperm count has declined in Western nations, with an average of 47 million sperm per milliliter, compared to 99 million in the past.
The study also highlighted the potential impact of manmade poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on semen quality. These substances, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” have been extensively used in industries and consumer products but are gradually being phased out due to their association with various health effects, including reduced semen quality.
It is important to note that this study focused on males aged 18 to 22, and the effects of mobile phone radiation on older men are yet to be explored. While the study’s findings are not entirely conclusive, they highlight the need for further research in this area. The researchers concluded that more studies are necessary to better understand the association between mobile phone use, radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure, and semen quality.
In conclusion, the study sheds light on the potential association between mobile phone use and male fertility, specifically sperm concentration and total sperm count. However, it is important to note that this is just one piece of the puzzle, and further research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between mobile phone use, environmental factors, and male infertility.