The Corpus Callosum

Do Cell Phones Cause Infertility?

Do cell phones decrease male fertility?  Researchers at the
Cleveland Clinic think so.  According to href="http://www.clevelandclinic.org/reproductiveresearchcenter/staff/agarwala.html">Ashok
Agarwal, et. al., greater
use of cell phones is associated with decreased sprem count. 
Other factors, such as sperm motility, are diminished as well.

href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/17482179">Effect of
cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic:
an observational study.

Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J.
Fertil Steril. 2008
Jan;89(1):124-8.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of cell phone use on
various
markers of semen quality. DESIGN: Observational study. SETTING:
Infertility clinic. PATIENT(S): Three hundred sixty-one men undergoing
infertility evaluation were divided into four groups according to their
active cell phone use: group A: no use; group B: <2 h/day; group C:
2-4 h/day; and group D: >4 h/day. INTERVENTION(S): None. MAIN
OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Sperm parameters (volume, liquefaction time, pH,
viscosity, sperm count, motility, viability, and morphology).
RESULT(S): The comparisons of mean sperm count, motility, viability,
and normal morphology among four different cell phone user groups were
statistically significant. Mean sperm motility, viability, and normal
morphology were significantly different in cell phone user groups
within two sperm count groups. The laboratory values of the above four
sperm parameters decreased in all four cell phone user groups as the
duration of daily exposure to cell phones increased. CONCLUSION(S): Use
of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men by decreasing the
sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology. The decrease
in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to
cell phones and independent of the initial semen quality.

Obviously, this is a statistical association that might not mean
much.  Still, it would be interesting to know if there is any
association with the hypothalamic hormone, GnRH, and/or the pituitary
hormones LH and FSH. 

Probably it is not the cell phone itself; it is the ringtones. 
Just to be safe, perhaps we shouldn’t be clipping the cell phones to
our belts.

Comments

  1. #1 qetzal
    February 18, 2008

    Oh, please. How many other factors might co-vary with cell phone use and be much more likely to play a role in semen quality. For example, might men who use a cell phone > 4 h/day be overstressed business men, working long hours? How might that affect semen quality?

    I don’t have access to the full article, but based on the abstract, it’s highly irresponsible to conclude that cell phone use causes decrease sperm quality. The reviewer should never have allowed that abstract to publish as is.

  2. #2 Susan G. Bohs
    February 18, 2008

    I am not a scientist, but even I know that correlation does not imply causation. A very well-known caution in this regard in the education field is the observation that children who come from homes with well-kept lawns have higher GPA’s than children whose family’s have lawns that are unkempt. However, even the most ignorant among us do not posit that lawn care is somehow related to academic achievement!

  3. #3 Joseph j7uy5
    February 18, 2008

    Right. For example, I think the people who use cell phones the most are drug dealers. Not the greatest sperm donors.

  4. #4 Garrett
    February 18, 2008

    Of course, people who use cell phones more often probably have more opportunities to reproduce, so it’ll all even out
    :)

  5. #5 Dave Briggs
    February 20, 2008

    Oh, please. How many other factors might co-vary with cell phone use and be much more likely to play a role in semen quality.

    Ya,
    This is what I thought too. Seems like the study can’t be considered definitive and absolute. Maybe they can file it away and have it lead to more conclusive searches later on.
    Dave Briggs :~)

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