Spending hours on a cell phone each day may affect the quality
of a man's sperm, preliminary research suggests.
In a study of 361 men seen at their infertility clinic,
researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found an association between
the patients' cell phone use and their sperm quality.
A man is sillhouetted against the sun as he uses a mobile
telephone. Chatting on a mobile phone before bedtime makes for more
restless nights, a Swedish researcher who headed up a study on the
subject cautioned on Monday. [Agencies]
On average, the more hours the men spent on their cell phones each
day, the lower their sperm count and the greater their percentage
of abnormal sperm.
The findings, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility,
add to questions about the potential health effects of cell phones
and other wireless devices. Some studies, for example, have linked
long-term cell phone use to a higher risk of brain tumors, though
many other studies have found no such connection.
The concern is that, over time, the electromagnetic energy
emitted from mobile phones could theoretically harm body tissue --
by damaging DNA, for example.
However, the new findings do not prove that cell phones somehow
damage sperm, according to the researchers.
"Our results show a strong association of cell phone use with
decreased semen quality. However, they do not prove a cause-and-
effect relationship," lead researcher Dr. Ashok Agarwal told
He and his colleagues based their findings on semen samples from
361 men who came to their infertility clinic over one year. All of
the men were questioned about their cell phone habits.
In general, the researchers found, sperm count and sperm quality
tended to decline as daily cell phone hours increased. Men who said
they used their phones for more than four hours each day had the
lowest average sperm count and the fewest normal, viable sperm.
"We infer from our results that heavy cell phone use ... is
associated with a lower semen quality," Agarwal said. But whether
cell phones somehow directly affect men's fertility is not
Agarwal said he and his colleagues have two studies underway
aiming to shed light on the issue. In one, they are exposing semen
samples to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones to see what,
if any, effects occur.
The second is a follow-up to the current study that is assessing
a larger group of men. Agarwal said this study is more rigorously
designed and will account for certain other factors like lifestyle
habits and occupational exposures that might affect sperm
(China Daily/Agencies February 8, 2008)