Men who use their mobiles more often have lower sperm count, new study suggests

1 November 2023, 11:19

Men who use phones more frequently have a lower concentration of sperm, one study has suggested
Men who use phones more frequently have a lower concentration of sperm, one study has suggested. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Men who often use their mobile have a lower sperm concentration, a new study has suggested.

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Researchers at the University of Geneva collected data and semen from more than 2,800 men aged 18 to 22.

They asked them questions about their mobile use and where they put it when they don't use it.

Their data showed the men who used their phone more than 20 times a day had a 21% decrease in sperm concentration compared to men who only used their phone once a week.

The researchers were investigating a potential association between a phone's electromagnetic radiation and semen quality.

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Studies have shown sperm quality has declined since the 1970s.

The average amount per millimetre has dropped from 99 million to 47 million in the last 50 years.

That could be due to lifestyle, such as diet and alcohol, and environmental causes, like radiation or pesticides.

The Geneva University researchers wrote in the Fertility and Sterility journal that "there is a growing concern about the possible detrimental effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by these device on human health and particularly on reproductive functions".

"This study suggests that higher mobile phone use is associated with lower sperm concentration and total sperm count," they added.

Researchers asked if microwaves emitted from phones had an effect, such as increasing temperature in the testes, or by affecting sperm production.

It was found the link between lower sperm concentration and mobile phone use was more clear in the earlier years of the study - from 2005 to 2007 - which decreased up to 2018.

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Martin Roosli, one of the researchers, said: "This trend corresponds to the transition from 2G to 3G, and then 3G to 4G, that has led to a reduction in the transmitting power of phones."

There was no connection between where men kept their phone, such as in their trouser pocket, and lower sperm count.

Fertility expert Professor Allan Pacey, of the University of Manchester, said any connection "is just an association" but he noted it was "quite a good paper".

He said he does not think men need to worry about phone use, and noted how later generations of connectivity - with the study covering the period moving from 2G to 4G - coincided with less of an effect.