New research published in Fertility and Sterility has revealed a potential link between frequent cell phone use and lower sperm counts in men, shedding light on the long-standing issue of falling sperm counts and rising infertility rates.
The study, conducted by Swiss scientists from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, spanned from 2005 to 2018 and involved 2,886 men aged 18 to 22.
Participants were asked to monitor their mobile phone usage, lifestyle, and general health.
The study’s findings showed that men who used their phones more than 20 times a day had significantly lower sperm counts and sperm concentrations than those who used their phones less frequently, with a difference of around a fifth for both measurements.
Frequent Mobile Phone Use and Declining Sperm Counts
Regular phone users had a 21% higher risk of having a low overall sperm count, falling below the World Health Organization’s reference values for fertile men.
The risk increased to 30% for low sperm concentrations below the WHO benchmark.
Interestingly, the link between phone use and sperm count became less pronounced with the transition from 2G to 3G and 3G to 4G networks, suggesting a connection between network technology and sperm quality.
While the study’s observational nature does not definitively establish cell phone usage as the cause for lower sperm counts, it does open the door to further investigation.
The researchers have launched a new trial that will collect more precise data through a smartphone app to measure the impact of electromagnetic waves and different types of phone use.
Sperm counts have declined for years, with total sperm counts falling 62% between 1973 and 2018.
The exact reasons behind this trend are still unclear, with potential factors including pollution, lifestyle, diet, stress, and chemical exposure.
The issue is complex and may vary across cultures, making it challenging to pinpoint a single cause.
As the debate surrounding declining sperm counts continues, understanding the potential impact of frequent mobile phone use is another piece of the puzzle that researchers are actively working to solve.