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Do Cell Phones Affect Sperm Quality?

Early Findings Suggest Link With Poor Sperm Quality, but More Study Needed
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 23, 2006 -- There just might be a connection between a suspected decline in male fertility and increased cell phone use, but experts say much more research is needed to confirm an association.

In a study led by researchers from The Cleveland Clinic, men who used their cell phones the most had poorer sperm quality than those who used them the least.

The lowest average sperm counts seemed to be in men who had the most cell phone use (more than four hours a day); those who didn’t use cell phones seemed to have the highest. Although the sperm count appears to go down with increasing cell phone use, the difference in numbers wasn't significant.

The findings do not prove a link between cell phone use and semen quality, researcher Ashok Agarwal, PhD, tells WebMD.

Unanswered Questions

Agarwal presented the study in a poster session at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in New Orleans.

"This is still very preliminary and I would not want these findings misinterpreted as showing that cell phone use is a definite cause of decreased [male] fertility," he says. "There are still many unanswered questions."

About a billion people worldwide now use cell phones, and some projections suggest that within the next five years that number could double.

A link between cell phone use and reduced sperm counts has been suggested in several earlier studies, but none has been considered conclusive.

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