For fifty years, medical professionals have looked for lifestyle and environmental factors that could be causing a decline in the number of male sperm. According to some researches, male fertility may be impacted by low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic fields released by mobile phones. Sperm concentration and total sperm count were found to decrease with increased mobile phone use in a large Swiss population research. The results suggest that sperm quality may not be as affected by sophisticated phone technologies. Roughly half of cases of clinical infertility are estimated to be caused by compromised male fertility. A 50% decrease in male sperm counts over several decades has specialists concerned about the growing public health issue of male infertility. In an attempt to find answers, scientists have been looking at the possible effects of a variety of environmental conditions on the quality of sperm. Radiation exposure, endocrine disruptors, stress, alcohol, narcotics, and smoking are a few examples of these.
Researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the University of Geneva recently looked into the potential impact of mobile phone use and location on male infertility. The 13-year study indicates that among young adult males, smartphone use may be linked to decreased sperm concentration and total sperm count (TSC). However, because newer phones have lesser transmission powers, the influence on sperm count may have been lessened by the switch to 3G and 4G. 2,886 men between the ages of 18 and 22 were gathered for the study between 2005 and 2018 at military recruitment sites. The study periods were from 2008 to 2011, from 2012 to 2018, and from 2005 to 2007. The lab experts extracted semen samples and noted the motility, concentration, and total sperm count (TSC).
In addition to answering questions on their education, lifestyle choices, and general and reproductive health, participants were also asked how frequently they used their gadgets. Responses on how often they used it varied from once a week to more than 20 times a day. 2,764 participants in all provided answers to the questions. Based on how frequently they used their phones, the participants were divided into five groups by the researchers. those who reported using their phones once a week had a significantly greater median sperm concentration than those who used their phones more than 20 times a day.
Furthermore, compared to other study periods, the first study period revealed a “more pronounced” relationship between smartphone use and sperm concentration. The trajectory seems to be in line with the development of new technologies, from 2G to 3G to 4G, which is associated with a drop in the output power of mobile phones. The participants were also questioned by researchers about where they kept their phones when not in use. Responses for non-use phone locations included belt carriers, jackets, jeans, and other non-body parts. Approximately 85.7% of the 2,368 male participants in the research stated they kept their phones in their pants pockets when not in use. The remaining men either kept their phones outside of their bodies (9.7%) or inside their jackets (4.6%). There was no correlation found in study models between having a phone in your pants and poorer measures related to semen quality.
The stratified analysis based on the recruitment period similarly showed this lack of association. A male may need more than a year to conceive with a partner if his sperm concentration is less than 15 million per milliliter, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source. Furthermore, if the concentration of sperm is less than 40 million per milliliter, there is less probability of becoming pregnant. According to research, the average number of sperm per milliliter has decreased from 99 million to 47 million. This is especially true for countries in the West. Medical News Today spoke with UK consulting practitioner Dr. Hussain Ahmad about the Swiss study. He did not participate in the study.
According to Dr. Ahmad, sperm count is impacted by a wide range of factors, including stress, alcohol and tobacco usage, prescription and illicit drug use, and physical inactivity. Perfluoroalkyl and polymers formed of synthetic materials, or PFAS, are widely used in consumer goods and industry. The “forever chemicals,” or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are gradually being phased out because of documented health risks, including lowered semen quality. These substances do, however, remain in both the environment and human bodies. According to an analysis published in 2022, PFAS builds up to levels that are observable throughout the body and in bodily fluids like seminal fluid. This extensive cross-sectional investigation on mobile phone use and semen quality was conducted in collaboration with the academics. They collected data on thousands of men in Switzerland during a ten-year period.
Self-reported data dependence is a major drawback. The authors conducted another study in which participants downloaded a smartphone application in an effort to get around this in future studies. The study was limited to male participants aged 18 to 22. Research has not yet been done on how radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from cell phones affect elderly males. While the Swiss study is intriguing and merits more research, Dr. Ahmad told MNT that it could be worthwhile to look into a larger picture that influences stress and reproductive rates. Stress and decreased reproduction rates may also be caused by economic issues, persistently bad international news, and social media pressure. According to Dr. Ahmad, “[this means] that more people are experiencing stress levels that require medical treatment.”
In fact, several scientists question whether using a cell phone alone may have a major impact on male fertility. Dr. Paulvin pointed out that since “we live in a world where it’s practically impossible to operate without frequent cell phone usage,” there isn’t a definitive answer to the question. However, because there are so many other factors that affect fertility, it is challenging to draw firm conclusions from this study. Additionally, Dr. Paulvin said that while the study did find a correlation between cell phone usage and sperm concentration, there were numerous other characteristics that were not shown to be associated.
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