Does cell-phone use by men affect fertility? Ashok Agarwal and his colleagues found that the answer is yes—and greater use was associated with lower fertility. A couple of years ago there was a substantial wave of reporting about this research. In the vein of bumper stickers suggesting drivers discontinue use of cell phones and focus on controlling their vehicles, I wanted to revisit this study.
First, though, the facts:
Author(s): Ashok Agarwal, Fnu Deepinder, Rakesh K. Sharma, Geetha Ranga, & Jianbo Li
Title: Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study.
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: 4 h/day.
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.
O.K. Now, the floor is open for nominations for bumper stickers. Here are a couple of starters.
- Hang up and make babies
- Hang up and be a Family Guy
- Talk more. Shoot blanks
- Support a Constitutional Amendment to Stop the Slaughter of Uncreated Babies
Flash of the electrons to Matt Hamblen of Computerworld whose article entitled “Study revived this week ties cell phone use to sperm count Cleveland Clinic’s research on 361 men in 2004-2005 to be followed by further study,” reminded me of this research. Also see Amy Norton’s coverage in Scientific American, Wayne Rash’s article in eWeek, Salynn Boyles older piece in WebMD