The One Device Everyone Has that Can Lower Conception Rates by 26%
Before I started reading the research on this topic I felt like what I was hearing about this was coming out of a sci-fi movie. I mean, if the use of electronics and radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) are approved for use, then they must be safe, correct?
According to new research coming out over the last couple of years, this does not seem to be the case for sperm health. The issue is that a lot of the trials to help determine safety of such RF-EMF for health are inconsistent with regards to where these devices are in contact with the body, how long they may be in contact, and if there are potentially multiple devices.
The two biggest devices that we need to look at are our cellphone devices and laptops. Wifi and cellular radiation can exert two effects on the tissue: thermal and non-thermal. Thermal refers to increasing the actual temperature of the tissue. With cellphones, this may be negligible when it comes to sperm health. With laptops, we are now seeing data showing that the increase in temperature by actually keeping your laptop on your lap, rather than a table may increase scrotal temperature and lead to lower sperm parameters. When it comes to non-thermal effects, we are mostly referring to an increase in oxidative stress in the tissue that the radiation is affecting.
New research has observed that increased cellular radiation exposure is associated with an approximately 8% decline in sperm motility and 9% in sperm viability. It has also been shown to lower sperm concentration and increase sperm DNA fragmentation and potentially increase early fetal demise (early miscarriage) risk when Fathers have increased radiation exposure.
The proximity of the device also seems to have an impact, where carrying a cellphone in your chest pocket seems to be less harmful for sperm health compared to patients that carry them in their front trouser pocket. In fact, a newer research paper observed a 26% reduced chance of conception in couples where the partner kept his cellphone in the front trouser pocket (BMI < 25) compared to couples that had less radiation exposure.
The way we go about our lives has evolved significantly with newer developments in technology, and this growth curve probably won't slow down. So the way hopeful parents are preparing for conception needs to evolve as well, otherwise you may be looking at "unknown" causes for why sperm parameters are so poor in otherwise very healthy patients.
It may be helpful in many of these cases to pursue additional sperm testing beyond the simple sperm concentration and motility testing if you are concerned about this.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.
Hatch, E. E., Willis, S. K., Wesselink, A. K., Mikkelsen, E. M., Eisenberg, M. L., Sommer, G. J., Wise, L. A. (2021). Male cellular TELEPHONE EXPOSURE, fecundability, and semen QUALITY: Results from TWO preconception cohort studies. Human Reproduction.
Kesari, K. K., Agarwal, A., & Henkel, R. (2018). Radiations and male fertility. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology,16(1).
Balawender, K., & Orkisz, S. (2020). The impact of selected modifiable lifestyle factors on male fertility in the modern world. Central European Journal of Urology, 73, 563-568.