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Fertility Crisis: How Cell Phones & EMFs Impact Dropping Sperm Counts

You may not have heard, but according to new research, we are currently witnessing sharp declines in male fertility worldwide. Infertility affects about 1 in 20 adults.

In some first-world countries, such as the US and Dubai, fertility rates have dropped 30% or more since 1980.

In first world countries around the globe, sperm counts have dropped by 50% since 1973!

Researchers debate the different causes for increasing infertility rates. From an increasingly toxic earth to the rise in use of products containing hormone-disrupting chemicals (such as BPA), or the pervasive use of pesticides, which are so disrupting to hormones they turn male frogs female.

Whatever the reason for this global decrease, if you are looking to have children, you might want to re-think putting your laptop on your lap.

While it seems like the name laptop implies you should, in fact, be using it on your lap. But new research is showing that we should be trying to distance ourselves from this technology.

This is due to the Electromagnetic Fields, or EMFs, that are being emitted by all electronic devices, including laptops. This is a low-energy form of radiation that can interfere with and damage cells and processes in your body after extended exposure, leading to adverse health effects, one of them being male fertility.

In recent studies, EMFs have been proven to impact male sperm production and quality, as well as the health of the unborn fetus in females, with other negative impacts upon fertility overall.

Actually, researchers are beginning to wonder if EMF exposure may be primary culprit behind rising male infertility worldwide.

What are EMFs?

Very simply put, EMFs are a form of energy waves that are emitted by electronic products, wired or wireless. EMFs radiate out of all our electronics, whether it’s a digital alarm clock plugged into a wall, a microwave oven, or a laptop computer connected to WiFi.

Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation is generated by every electronic device which is “turned on.”

Radio Frequency (RF) EMFs are the waves emitted by wireless electronic devices with antennas.

Why Do EMFs Impact Human Health?

Everything emits electrical currents of some kind. Even the human body operates through electrical impulses produced by various chemical processes in the human body. Nerves conduct their impulses via electrical impulses as does the heart (which is why doctors run those tests called electrocardiograms).

EMFs can affect our bodies, the intensity of which is determined by the strength of the waves. There is now little doubt that prolonged exposure to high levels of EMFs can affect our health.

What researchers are working hard to determine today, however, is how severe the cumulative effect of EMFs can affect our health.

EMFs and Fertility: How EMFs Affect Sperm

EMFresearch.com lists over 300 studies linking EMF radiation emissions to fertility issues. EMFs have been found to impact both male and female fertility and to affect the unborn fetus in women numerous ways, including fragmenting DNA. 

Males, however, are especially vulnerable to EMF radiation exposure. This is because while the female sex organs are buried deep within thick tissues, the male reproductive organs sit relatively close to the surface of the body. Mice studies indicate internal damage to organelles within the sperm cell from radiation exposure. In humans, research has confirmed that the duration of exposure correlates with defects in sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology.

The following are some recent studies showing how EMFs impact fertility as well as other serious health effects:

  • The medical journal Fertility and Sterility published a study showing that EMFs directly impact DNA in reproductive organs and tissues, especially since there is no bone to protect this fragile area that houses the ovum or testicles. In the study, one group of sperm samples from healthy men were placed under a laptop connected to the internet via WiFi. The second group was used as a control and incubated under the same conditions without being exposed to the laptop. It showed 25% of the sperm was no longer active compared to 14% from sperm samples stored at the same temperature over the same time period and away from the computer. Also, 9% of the sperm showed DNA damage, 3 times the damage experienced by the comparison samples.
  • A 2011 study reveals that use of laptop computers connected to WiFi decreases human sperm mobility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Motility enables the sperm to swim to its intended target, the egg. Intact DNA allows the sperm to produce viable offspring. Obviously, sperm need both in order to successfully impregnate a healthy egg. The exposure to laptop radiation and WiFi has caused measurable changes to the integrity of human sperm.
  • A 2008 U.S. study finds that the use of cell phones reduces the sperm count, motility, viability and normal morphology of sperm in men.
  • A 2009 study confirms that cell phone radiation leads to oxidative stress in human semen and determines that keeping a cell phone in pockets around the area of the genitalia can negatively impact male fertility.

In a 2013 study of the effects of cell phone waves upon male rats, researchers found that cell phones cause oxidative stress in the body which can lead to numerous deadly diseases, and found that exposure to EMFs should be decreased as much as possible, concluding that:

“Cell phone waves may, in addition to affecting sperm parameters, cause oxidative stress in the body and consequently create various diseases. . . It is recommended that more attention be paid to cell phone waves as a source of oxidative stress and exposure to these waves be decreased as much as possible. It is also suggested that individuals who spend more time on cell phones be monitored periodically in terms of reproductive system health and it is recommended that they consume a diet full of antioxidants in order to minimize the adverse effects of these waves.”

Figure 1. After prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation, sperm exhibits many unfavorable changes. Credit: The Korean Society for Reproductive Medicine
After prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation, sperm exhibits several unfavorable changes. Credit: The Korean Society for Reproductive Medicine

In a Reuters news article from November 2011, it stated a study revealed that radiation from cell phones creates feeble sperm in the lab. A urologist noted that a laptop balanced on his knees could crank up scrotum temperatures to unsafe levels.

In a separate South Korean journal, a review of recent research on sperm exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) was conducted. Over seventy publications indicated that traits associated with reproductive health were reported to be altered by EMF.

Experts have evaluated the original researchers’ work to offer their opinions, noting the increasing public concern over increased exposure to electronic devices in modern day.

What We Can Do

Despite the controversy, laptop and WiFi exposure is considered by many as a public health issue.

Because of the growing body of research all pointing in the same direction; it is considered advisable to avoid direct exposure to laptop radiation if you are concerned about your fertility.

With EMF exposure, the key is in limiting the strength and length of time we are exposed to EMFs.

The best ways to protect yourself from the negative impacts of EMFs are to:

  • Reduce the time you are exposed to EMFs
  • Create distance between you and your electrical devices—keep routers, especially, in another room, and turn cell phones, tablets, and laptops on airplane mode whenever you can.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and use ethernet cables to wire your devices to the internet.
  • Try not to put a cell phone directly to your head, in your bra, or in your pocket. If you do use your cell phone against your body, try to limit how much time you do so.
  • Use speakerphone or safe airtube headset devices for listening privately.
  • Use EMF blocking shields, cases, and protective tools to limit EMF radiation.

EMFs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only going to become a more pervasive threat as the internet gets faster and more alluring with the coming upgrade to 5G technology, which promises to boost internet speeds by 50 to 100 percent.

We need to begin to think seriously about how to find safe ways to use all of our electronics.

As time goes on, we predict, we will only see more and more conclusive studies emerge about the effects of devices such as headphones, laptops, cellphones, and WiFi upon human health.

Watch Below for More About the Health Effects of EMF Radiation:

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Daniel T. DeBaun

Daniel T. DeBaun is an internationally recognized and influential expert in Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and shielding electronic emissions, with a particular focus on the effect of exposure from mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones. Daniel’s concern regarding the health impact of electronic radiation emissions grew from over 30 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications industry, where he held a variety of leadership and executive positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, SAIC and Telcordia. Daniel is co-author of recent bestseller, Radiation Nation: The Fallout of Modern Technology, a complete guide to EMF radiation safety and protection. Daniel is also a highly regarded industry consultant, speaker as well as frequent guest national radio and television programs discussing EMF health issues.