Cell Phone Use Linked to Male Infertility
Hands-Free Calls May Expose Sperm to Radiation
Do Ask, Do Tell
Sami David, MD, a New York City-based reproductive endocrinologist, tells WebMD that he asks every male patient where they keep their cell phones and whether they use a hands-free device.
"You want it to stay far away from the testicles," he says. "I am more worried about the people that talk for three or four hours a day with the cell phone in their pocket than those who talk for shorter periods."
It's more than just cell phones. Other factors can affect male infertility, he says. "Men should not place their laptop on their laps due to the heat from the battery," he tells WebMD. "Jacuzzis, tub baths, toxins, and fumes can all play a role in male infertility and should be discussed."
Given the mechanism proposed by the new study, David says that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E may help reverse oxidative stress in sperm. He suggests all his male patients take certain antioxidants even when their sperm is normal.
Joe Farren, the assistant vice president for public affairs at CTIA, a wireless communications trade group, urges caution in interpreting the new findings, as well as other studies on how wireless phone usage affects health. "When you examine the weight of available scientific research that has been published and peer-reviewed and listen to leading health organizations around the world, you will find no association between wireless usage and adverse health effects," he tells WebMD. "We believe science has to guide this issue."