The Weird Thing That Can Mess With A Man’s Fertility
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, you might want to watch where he keeps his favorite gadget. Men who keep their cell phones in their front pockets—close to the family jewels—might be endangering their sperm, according to a new study published in the journal Environment International.
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Scientists from the University of Exeter in the U.K. reviewed 10 studies, which included 1,492 men, to learn about how electromagnetic radiation found in cell phones affected the guys' fertility. Specifically, they wanted to know how the radiation impacted the amount of sperm in semen, how many of those little guys could move, and how many were dead. A portion of the studies they looked at surveyed men about how long they kept their phone in their front pockets (ranging from zero to 16 hours) and compared their semen results. The rest of the studies exposed semen to radiation for different lengths of time (up to an hour) and observed the effects. Overall, researchers found that radiation exposure caused a nine percent drop in the number of sperm that were alive in a semen sample and an eight percent drop in the number of living sperm that could move. This might be a bit of a problem since those swimmers need to hustle to fertilize an egg.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean your guy has to invest in a murse to keep his phone away from his package. "For the average man who is normal and healthy, it might not make that much of a difference," says study co-author Fiona Mathews Ph.D., professor of biosciences at the University of Exeter. "Even if eight percent of the sperm are dead, you are still capable of achieving fertilization." Phew.
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Plus, this review only found that radiation affects developing sperm, and since men are constantly regenerating new sperm, they could have a healthy batch in as little as four days, says Matthews. More research needs to be done to find out whether radiation affects male fertility in the long run.
That said, this could still be bad news for couples who are already struggling to get pregnant, says Matthews. An eight percent drop in viable sperm could make a big difference for people who are also dealing with other infertility issues.
So if you’re trying to get pregnant ASAP, tell your partner to keep his cell phone and other wireless devices (which weren’t part of the study but Mathews says might have the same affect) away from his manhood to be on the safe side.
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