Mobile Phone
Exposure to radiation from mobile phones kept in trouser pockets can leave a negative impact on sperm quality. Garry Knight/FlickrGarry Knight/Flickr

Mobile phones can damage male fertility, according to a new study. Researchers from University of Exeter in the UK found that keeping mobile phones in trouser pockets lowered sperm quality.

For the study, Dr Fiona Mathews and colleagues looked at nearly 1,500 people from 10 studies. The studies focused mainly on three factors - sperm motility (ability of sperm to move toward an egg), viability (number of live sperms) and concentration (number of sperm in semen). Though between 50 and 85 percent of the control groups had normal sperm movement, use of mobile phone was associated with eight percent reduction in sperm motility. Exposure to mobile phones also had similar effects on sperm viability. However, researchers couldn't find any clear link between mobile phone exposure and sperm concentration.

Radiation emitted by the devices may be causing this occurrence, researchers, while explaining their findings, said.

"Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified. This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality," Dr Mathews, said in a news release. "This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population."

Findings of the study have been reported in the journal Environment International.

Similarly, in 2008, linking cell phone use to male infertility, a team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in the US warned men against clipping their cell phones to the belts. "The Bluetooth devices, which many people are using these days because of health or safety concerns, may not be always so safe. There is a downside," Dr Ashok Agarwal, head of the andrology laboratory and the director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told WebMD, during that time.

Previous research has also shown hidden risk associated with laptops with Wi-Fi connection. In a study, keeping the sperms under laptop decreased their mobility and caused DNA damage.

In addition to this, many studies in the past have linked excessive cell phone use to poor sleep, brain cancer, depression and addiction.

Following are some tips that help avoid radiation from mobiles:

  • Buy a mobile with lowest radiation
  • Talk in speaker mode
  • Never use mobile phones during poor signal
  • Never wear wireless headsets after use
  • Put in airplane mode when planning not to use phone for a long time
  • Use texting more often than calling someone
  • Avoid using keypad covers and antenna caps
  • Try to talk less - radiation levels goes up while talking than while listening