Men, Think Twice About Carrying Your Cellphone in Your Pocket

A new study says cellphone use negatively impacts male fertility.

Guys, if you and your partner are looking to be in the family way, you may want to reduce your smartphone usage, or at least keep your phone out of your front pants pocket.

A recent study from England’s University of Exeter found that the low-level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by cellphones negatively impacts the quality of human sperm. According to Time:

In their new research, they analyzed 10 previous studies, seven of which involved the study of sperm motility, concentration and viability in the lab, and three that included male patients at fertility clinics. Overall, among the 1,492 samples, exposure to cellphone EMR lowered sperm motility by 8 percent, and viability by 9 percent.

In other words, 50 to 80 percent of sperm from men who weren’t exposed to cellphones swam normally toward an egg. That number was reduced by about 8 percent for men who routinely use cellphones. Sperm viability, the proportion of sperm that are alive, was also lower for routine cellphone users.

Fiona Mathews, who led the study, told The Huffington Post that more research needs to be conducted on cellphones’ impact on sperm.

“I would not argue that use of a phone is going to suddenly make men infertile,” said Mathews. “However, given the increasing use of wireless devices, and general declines in sperm quality seen over the last 10 to 20 years across the developed world, this is certainly an area that is in urgent need of research.”

To be on the safe side, Mathews recommends that men remove their phone from their front pants pocket. She also said it’s beneficial to “keep things loose and cool down there by wearing loose-fitting underwear and avoiding activities that keep genitals overheated for a long amount of time.”

This isn’t the first time cellphones have been linked to a medical concern. We recently told you that cellphones could potentially harm babies in the womb. Some people have also been found to be allergic to the metal in certain cellphones.

Men, where do you carry your cellphone? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • ManoaHi

    I wonder. In the “recent study” link in Ms. Steinmetz’s article, have a look at that research. First is is not really recent, it in fact was interpretation of other studies, some “studies” referenced were done back in 2008. While recent sounding, it is still over 5 years old. Another thing that I find interesting is in point #4 of that study that says “Studies on the effect of mobile phones on male fertility indices have been contradictory.” I also remember back in the late 1970s to the mid 1980s when discos were the rage, and tight polyester gabardine pants were very common and at that time it was shown that wearing tight pants were a cause of low fertility. There have been other “studies” that have indicated that VOCs were responsible. In other words there are too many other causes, to try to limit to one particular source. Some have implicated some metals:

    None of the studies have indicated whether or not fertility returned after removal of any one source without changing anything else. It is very difficult to eliminate other variables, like dietary, environmental, cultural, genetic differences.

    Personally, I got my first clam shell phone in 1996 (company paid for a Nokia) which also corresponds to the first phone going into my pants pockets. All subsequent phones up to my current smartphone, in pocket. First child born in 1999, second in 2002 and both were planned. I was a smoker, heavy drinker (lived in a city where you typically didn’t drive your own car so could drink more than those who had to drive) and generally unhealthy diet, very little exercise, however, I was not overweight (ok, so I had to walk about 15 minutes on each side of the commute, for a total of 30 minutes of walking per day). Also, in that city quite a bit of air pollution. But never tested my fertility. In 2007 moved back to the US, stopped smoking, only one drink every now and then, eat healthier and much more active (drilling son in football and soccer) and we all enjoy the outdoors, particularly if it involves swimming (streams, oceans, ponds, pools). During the time our children were born, we were upper class, now we’re generally middle class.

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