Is mobile phone use linked to poor semen quality?

By (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (embryologist) and .
Last Update: 01/02/2023

The cell phone has become more than an everyday object. This device is used for varying lengths of time throughout the day by users of virtually any age. However, these types of devices emit radiofrequency electromagnetic waves that could have various detrimental health effects, which are often ignored.

Among these adverse effects, it has been extensively studied whether cell phone use is related to a worsening of semen quality. The increasing use of mobile devices could be a factor (associated with today's lifestyle) related to the increase in male infertility.

Do cell phones affect semen quality?

Radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile devices could have adverse effects on the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and also on male reproductive function, as the testicles are an organ that is quite sensitive to radiation.

Among other effects, radiation from cell phones would produce an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). This would lead to increased oxidative stress, because antioxidants are not able to neutralize ROS. This would result in increased sperm DNA fragmentation and impaired sperm motility (due to damage to membrane fluidity).

In addition, these radiations from cell phones could generate hormonal changes, reducing testosterone levels. This effect would be caused by the affectation of the Leydig cells that are in charge of producing this hormone.

However, the actual mechanism by which cell phones would affect the male reproductive system has not been clarified. Therefore, more research is needed.

Cell phones and male fertility

Cell phone use could lead to alteration of sperm parameters such as sperm count and concentration, sperm motility and sperm morphology.

On the other hand, as we have mentioned, the radiation emitted by cell phones could also produce an increase in oxidative stress and DNA fragmentation in spermatozoa. This could lead to fertility problems in the male, since it is essential that the genetic material of the sperm is not damaged for fertilization and embryo development to occur correctly.

Similarly, the possible reduction in testosterone levels produced by cell phone radiation could affect male fertility. Testosterone is an essential hormone for spermatogenesis, i.e. the production of spermatozoa.

On the other hand, it is important to mention that laptops and Wi-Fi, as well as cell phones, also emit non-ionizing radiation that could contribute to the increase in male infertility.

However, more well-designed studies are needed to confirm and robustly support all these negative effects of cell phones on male fertility.

How to reduce these effects?

In such a digitized environment, it seems really complicated nowadays to avoid these radiofrequency radiations and their negative effects on the male reproductive system.

However, there are some compounds that have been proposed to have a protective effect due to their antioxidant properties. Among them are:

  • Melatonin.
  • Green tea, also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Crocin, a carotenoid extracted from saffron that is responsible for its color.
  • L-carnitine and selenium.
  • Vitamin C and E.

Nevertheless, more research is needed on preventive measures to avoid the harmful effects of radiofrequency radiation on male reproductive health, as well as on other organs and systems.

In addition, before taking any type of food supplement it is important to consult a specialist, who should control the dosage and duration of the supplementation.

FAQs from users

Can having your phone in your pocket make you infertile?

By Sergio Rogel Cayetano M.D. (gynecologist).

Some scientific studies have suggested that the radio frequencies used by cell phones could have harmful effects on health, such as a decrease in sperm quantity and quality.

However, not all studies present the same results. This may be due to the presence of confounding factors, as for example has happened in the case of coffee, which has been associated in some studies with lung cancer.

The conclusion is that at present we cannot be certain that the use of cell phones affects sperm quality. However, there are studies that suggest it and it seems reasonable to recommend that patients who have sperm problems or who are going to undergo fertility treatment should, as far as possible, not abuse the use of these devices.

To what extent can a laptop cause male infertility?

By Elena Santiago Romero M.D. (gynecologist).

Today there is still much ignorance as to what factors affect fertility. For example, when a male has a seminogram and it is altered, most of the time we will not know the cause.

Just like food, life habits such as exercising and not consuming toxins are very important for reproduction. We know that environmental factors can also affect, although we are not yet sure how they all affect each other.

A rise in temperature maintained in the area of the external genitalia of males can be one of the causes of poor semen quality. In this sense, laptops can be affected when used on the lap. Studies in urology describe that with more than 10-15 minutes of computer use in the lap, scrotal temperature increases considerably and this can cause problems in sperm production. Therefore, it is recommended that computers are used on the table so that this potentially damaging temperature increase does not occur.

Is there a treatment for male infertility caused by mobile phones?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Firstly, it is important to mention that, although there seems to be a link, more studies are still needed to show that mobile phones affect the quality of semen and the male reproductive system and that this deterioration leads men to suffer from fertility problems.

In terms of treatment, it has been proposed that certain compounds such as green tea or vitamins C and E could have a beneficial protective effect due to their antioxidant properties, reducing oxidative stress caused by radiation from mobile devices. However, more research is needed. In addition, it is important to consult a specialist before taking any kind of dietary supplement.

In the case of fertility problems, assisted reproduction techniques can help to achieve pregnancy.

Suggested for you

In this article we have discussed seminal quality in relation to the use of cell phones. If you want to know more about how semen quality is evaluated, we recommend you to visit this link: Sperm quality: how it is measured and what to do to improve it.

On the other hand, if you want to know if it is possible to improve sperm quality, you can read the following article: Is it possible to improve sperm quality - Recommendations.

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FAQs from users: 'Can having your phone in your pocket make you infertile?', 'To what extent can a laptop cause male infertility?' and 'Is there a treatment for male infertility caused by mobile phones?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Elena Santiago Romero
Elena Santiago Romero
Bachelor's Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Master's Degree in Human Reproduction from the King Juan Carlos University and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Several years of experience as a gynecologist specializing in Reproductive Medicine. More information about Elena Santiago Romero
License: 282864218
 Sergio Rogel Cayetano
Sergio Rogel Cayetano
Bachelor's Degree in Medicine from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche. Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology via M. I. R. at Hospital General de Alicante. He become an expert in Reproductive Medicine by working at different clinics of Alicante and Murcia, in Spain, until he joined the medical team of IVF Spain back in 2011. More information about Sergio Rogel Cayetano
License: 03-0309100
 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV
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