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Hold The Phone: Study Says Smartphones Cause Male Infertility

A new study revealed men who use their smartphones daily with a mobile connection engaged have a 20% loss in sperm count compared to those who do not, but researchers say that with the progression of wireless technology from 4G to 5G and beyond, men’s fertility may be less affected.

The study was published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility and was headed by researchers from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, who compiled data and semen samples from 2,886 men aged 18 to 22.

Based on the volunteer’s answers regarding how often smartphones were in use, the study found that men who reached for their device more than 20 times a day had a 21% lower concentration of sperm versus men who only used their phone once a week.

Within the study, however, researchers did highlight the relationship between cell phone use and sperm decline was more evident in their survey held in 2005 and 2007, while later research periods with reporting ending in 2018 had better sperm counts and results.

“This trend corresponds to the transition from 2G to 3G, and then from 3G to 4G, that has led to a reduction in the transmitting power of phones,’’ said Martin Röösli, associate professor at Swiss TPH.

The research paper uncovered that more effective generations of mobile networks, such as 5G, have a lower RF-EMF output power that is hundreds of times lower than 2G, making researchers optimistic that new phone technologies will continue to have less of an effect on male infertility and sperm count.

Interestingly, researchers did not find any correlation between where men stored their cell phones, 85.7% in their pocket, and the decrease in infertility because the other test group who kept their phones away from their bodies was too small a group to deduct any hard evidence.

Experts who participated in the study say more research must be done to fully grasp the link between sperm count and smartphones.

“Do the microwaves emitted by mobile phones have a direct or indirect effect? Do they cause a significant increase in temperature in the testes? Do they affect the hormonal regulation of sperm production? This all remains to be discovered,’’ Rahban said.