Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Effect of Mobile Phones on Sperm Quality

Diagrammatic representation of various sources of RF EMF exposure effect on brain and testicular organ and deleterious outcomes
(Kesari, Agarwal & Henkel, 2018)

Male cellular telephone exposure, fecundability, and semen quality: results from two preconception cohort studies

E E Hatch, S K Willis, A K Wesselink, E M Mikkelsen, M L Eisenberg, G J Sommer, H T Sorensen, K J Rothman, L A Wise. Male cellular telephone exposure, fecundability, and semen quality: results from two preconception cohort studies. Hum Reprod. 2021 Apr 20;36(5):1395-1404. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deab001.


Study question: To what extent is exposure to cellular telephones associated with male fertility?

Summary answer: Overall, we found little association between carrying a cell phone in the front pants pocket and male fertility, although among leaner men (BMI <25 kg/m2), carrying a cell phone in the front pants pocket was associated with lower fecundability.

What is known already: Some studies have indicated that cell phone use is associated with poor semen quality, but the results are conflicting.

Study design, size, duration: Two prospective preconception cohort studies were conducted with men in Denmark (n = 751) and in North America (n = 2349), enrolled and followed via the internet from 2012 to 2020.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: On the baseline questionnaire, males reported their hours/day of carrying a cell phone in different body locations. We ascertained time to pregnancy via bi-monthly follow-up questionnaires completed by the female partner for up to 12 months or until reported conception. We used proportional probabilities regression models to estimate fecundability ratios (FRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between male cell phone habits and fecundability, focusing on front pants pocket exposure, within each cohort separately and pooling across the cohorts using a fixed-effect meta-analysis. In a subset of participants, we examined selected semen parameters (semen volume, sperm concentration and sperm motility) using a home-based semen testing kit.

Main results and the role of chance: There was little overall association between carrying a cell phone in a front pants pocket and fecundability: the FR for any front pants pocket exposure versus none was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.0.83-1.05). We observed an inverse association between any front pants pocket exposure and fecundability among men whose BMI was <25 kg/m2 (FR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.59-0.88) but little association among men whose BMI was ≥25 kg/m2 (FR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.90-1.22). There were few consistent associations between cell phone exposure and semen volume, sperm concentration, or sperm motility.

Limitations, reasons for caution: Exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cell phones is subject to considerable non-differential misclassification, which would tend to attenuate the estimates for dichotomous comparisons and extreme exposure categories (e.g. exposure 8 vs. 0 h/day). Residual confounding by occupation or other unknown or poorly measured factors may also have affected the results.

Wider implications of the findings: Overall, there was little association between carrying one's phone in the front pants pocket and fecundability. There was a moderate inverse association between front pants pocket cell phone exposure and fecundability among men with BMI <25 kg/m2, but not among men with BMI ≥25 kg/m2. Although several previous studies have indicated associations between cell phone exposure and lower sperm motility, we found few consistent associations with any semen quality parameters.

Review Papers

Current progress on the effect of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of human and animal studies

Gang Yu, Zhiming Bai, Song Chao, Qing Cheng, Gang Wang, Zeping Tang, Sixing Yang. Current progress on the effect of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of human and animal studies. Environmental Pollution. Published online: 30 March 2021.


• Mobile phone use was related to sperm quality decline of men in some areas.
• Mobile phone RF-EMR directly impaired mature sperm of men in vitro.
• Mobile phone RF-EMR affected some parameters of sperm quality in experiment animals.
• Experiment conditions affected pooled results of animal experiments.
• More studies should be conducted to investigate this issue in new era.


Potential suppression of fertility due to mobile phone radiation remains a focus of researchers. We conducted meta-analyses on the effects of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality using recent evidence and propose some perspectives on this issue. Using the MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, WOS, CENTRAL, and databases, we retrieved and screened studies published before December 2020 on the effects of mobile phone use/mobile phone RF-EMR on sperm quality. 

Thirty-nine studies were included. Data quality and general information of the studies were evaluated and recorded. Sperm quality data (density, motility, viability, morphology, and DFI) were compiled for further analyses, and we conducted subgroup, sensitivity, and publication bias analyses. 

The pooled results of human cross-sectional studies did not support an association of mobile phone use and a decline in sperm quality. Different study areas contributed to the heterogeneity of the studies. In East Europe and West Asia, mobile phone use was correlated with a decline in sperm density and motility. Mobile phone RF-EMR exposure could decrease the motility and viability of mature human sperm in vitro. 

The pooled results of animal studies showed that mobile phone RF-EMR exposure could suppress sperm motility and viability. Furthermore, it reduced sperm density in mice, in rats older than 10 weeks, and in rats restrained during exposure. Differences regarding age, modeling method, exposure device, and exposure time contributed to the heterogeneity of animal studies. Previous studies have extensively investigated and demonstrated the adverse effects of mobile phone radiation on sperm. 

In the future, new standardized criteria should be applied to evaluate potential effects of mobile phone RF-EMR dosages. Further sperm-related parameters at the functional and molecular levels as well as changes in biological characteristics of germ cells should be evaluated. Moreover, the impact of mobile phone RF-EMR on individual organs should also be examined.


The results of our meta-analysis indicated that in East Europe and West Asia, mobile phone use is associated with a decline in human sperm density and motility. Mobile phone RF-EMR can reduce motility and viability of mature human sperm in vitro, and it can also reduce sperm motility and viability in male animals and decrease sperm density of sexually mature restrained rats. Some important factors that affect the results of animal experiments are study setup and radiation device as well as age and exposure time. Our study is an extension of previous studies and has scientific value for future studies on effects of mobile phone RF-EMR associated with sperm quality.


Pooja Negi, Rajeev Singh. Association between reproductive health and nonionizing radiation exposure.  Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. Published online: 20 Jan 2021. DOI: 10.1080/15368378.2021.1874973.

Recently, a decreasing rate of fertility has to be credited to an array of factors such as environmental, health and lifestyle. Male infertility is likely to be affected by the strong exposure to heat and radiations. The most common sources of nonionizing radiations are cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens, which may participate to the cause of male infertility. One of the major sources of daily exposure to non-ionizing radiation is mobile phones. A mobile phone is now basically dominating our daily life through better services such as connectivity, smartphone devices. However, the health consequences are linked with their usage are frequently ignored. Constant exposure to non-ionizing radiations produced from a cell phone is one of the possible reasons for growing male infertility. Recently, several studies have shown that cell phone users have altered sperm parameters causing declining reproductive health. Cell phone radiation harms male fertility by affecting the different parameters like sperm motility, sperm count, sperm morphology, semen concentration, morphometric abnormalities, increased oxidative stress along with some hormonal changes. This review is focusing on the prevailing literature from in vitro and in vivo studies suggesting that non-ionizing exposure negatively affects human male infertility.

Negi & Singh, 2021


Generally, the outcome of the studies has indicated that mobile phone usage changes different sperm parameters in both ways in-vitro (human) and in-vivo (animals). Several studies disclose that the exposure to cell phones produces harmful effects on the testes, which may affect sperm motility, sperm number, sperm concentration, and morphology and an increased DNA damage, causing micronuclei formation and reactive oxygen species within the cell. So many evidences showed that exposure from cell phones results in elevated oxidative stress with disintegrated DNA and it is directly and indirectly dependent on the time of cell phone use. Further researches are required to provide strong evidence that the use of mobile phones may disturb sperm and testicular activity. Several evidences suggest that the irregularities reported due to RF-EMF-exposure depend on physical parameters such as utilized RF wavelength, penetration range into the object, and transmission length of the radiation. Unfortunately, existing studies are not able to suggest a true mechanism between the harmful effects of RF-EMF radiation and the male reproductive system. To conclude all of the above, government bodies and agencies should form strong guidelines against cell phone exposure and take preventive actions such as in the usage of mobile phones, preventing chatting, reducing the overall contact time, and holding the gadget away from the groin may be of significant help to people pursuing fertility. Moreover, very limited studies are available on protective actions so far so a large-scale analysis is also required to determine the reproductive parameters.


Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu. Does the Use of Mobile Phone Affect Male Fertility? A Mini-Review. J Hum Reprod Sci. Jul-Sep 2020;13(3):174-183. doi: 10.4103/jhrs.JHRS_126_19.  


Presently, there is a rise in the use of mobile phones, laptops, and wireless internet technologies such as Wi-Fi and 5G routers/modems across the globe; these devices emit a considerable amount of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) which could interact with the male reproductive system either by thermal or nonthermal mechanisms. The aim of this review was to examine the effects of mobile phone use on male fertility. Related studies that reported on the effects of EMR from mobile phones on male fertility from 2003 to 2020 were evaluated. PubMed database was used. The Medical Subject Heading system was used to extract relevant research studies from PubMed. Based on the outcomes of both human and animal studies analyzed in this review, animal and human spermatozoa exposed to EMR emitted by mobile phones had reduced motility, structural anomalies, and increased oxidative stress due to overproduction of reactive oxygen species. Scrotal hyperthermia and increased oxidative stress might be the key mechanisms through which EMR affects male fertility. However, these negative effects appear to be associated with the duration of mobile phone use.


Based on the outcomes of both human and animal studies examined in this review, animal and human spermatozoa exposed to EMR emitted by mobile phones had reduced motility, structural anomalies, and increased oxidative stress due to the production of ROS. Scrotal hyperthermia and increased oxidative stress might be the key mechanisms by which EMR affects male fertility. However, these negative effects appear to be associated with the duration of mobile phone use.


Jaffar FHF, Osman K, Ismail NH, Chin KY, Ibrahim SF. Adverse Effects of Wi-Fi Radiation on Male Reproductive System: A Systematic Review. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2019;248(3): 169-179. doi: 10.1620/tjem.248.169. (Note: Smartphones emit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and various types of cellular radiation.)


Extensive use of Wi-Fi has contributed to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) pollution in environment. Various studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter on male reproduction health. However, there are conflicting findings between studies. Thus, this review aims to elucidate the possible effects of 2.45 GHz Wi-Fi exposure on both animal and human male reproductive system. A computerized database search performed through MEDLINE via Ovid and PUBMED with the following set of keywords: 'Wi-Fi or WiFi or wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi router or WiFi router or electromagnetic or radiofrequency radiation' AND 'sperm or spermatozoa or spermatogenesis or semen or seminal plasma or testes or testis or testosterone or male reproduction' had returned 526 articles. Only 17 studies conformed to pre-set inclusion criterion. Additional records identified through Google Scholar and reviewed article further revealed six eligible articles. A total of 23 articles were used for data extraction, including 15 studies on rats, three studies on mice, and five studies on human health. Sperm count, motility and DNA integrity were the most affected parameters when exposed to RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter. Unfortunately, sperm viability and morphology were inconclusive. Structural and/or physiological analyses of the testes showed degenerative changes, reduced testosterone level, increased apoptotic cells, and DNA damage. These effects were mainly due to the elevation of testicular temperature and oxidative stress activity. In conclusion, exposure towards 2.45 GHz RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter is hazardous on the male reproductive system.

Open access paper:


Kesari KK, Agarwal A, Henkel R. Radiation and male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018 Dec 9;16(1):118. doi: 10.1186/s12958-018-0431-1.

During recent years, an increasing percentage of male infertility has to be attributed to an array of environmental, health and lifestyle factors. Male infertility is likely to be affected by the intense exposure to heat and extreme exposure to pesticides, radiation, radioactivity and other hazardous substances. We are surrounded by several types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiations and both have recognized causative effects on spermatogenesis. Since it is impossible to cover all types of radiation sources and their biological effects under a single title, this review is focusing on radiation deriving from cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens, as these are the most common sources of non-ionizing radiation, which may contribute to the cause of infertility by exploring the effect of exposure to radiofrequency radiation on the male fertility pattern. From currently available studies it is clear that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) have deleterious effects on sperm parameters (like sperm count, morphology, motility), affects the role of kinases in cellular metabolism and the endocrine system, and produces genotoxicity, genomic instability and oxidative stress. This is followed with protective measures for these radiations and future recommendations. The study concludes that the RF-EMF may induce oxidative stress with an increased level of reactive oxygen species, which may lead to infertility. This has been concluded based on available evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies suggesting that RF-EMF exposure negatively affects sperm quality. 

Ford-Glanton BS, Melendez DA. Male reproductive toxicants: Electromagnetic radiation and heat. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, 2018.


Human population in today's world lives surrounded by radiofrequency fields (RF) and electromagnetic radiation (EM) fields, transmitting almost all forms of electronic communication and data that humans produce every second. Mobile devices and laptop computers are EMR-emitting devices. The effect of mobile phone emitted radiation and heat on fertility is the subject of recent interest and investigations. Many studies have found a decrease in semen quality which has increased the focus on male reproductive health. Infertility affects approximately 15% of couples of reproductive age, and nearly half of these cases are linked to male fertility (Sharlip et al., 2002). Different harmful environmental influences have led to changes in semen analysis standards by reducing the lower limits of normal ranges, which were declared by the World Health Organization (2010). The possible negative impact of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality has been well established. While no certain conclusions can be drawn from current evidence, a growing number of studies indicate a decrease in male fertility associated with increased cellular phone usage (Agarwal et al., 2011) and laptop computers using Wi-Fi (Avendaño et al., 2012a). Here we review the current evidence regarding the effects of electromagnetic radiation and heat in male fertility.


Yahyazadeh A, Deniz OG, Kaplan AA, Altun G, Yurt KK, Davis D. The genomic effects of cell phone exposure on the reproductive system. Environ Res.  2018 Nov;167:684-693. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.017.


Humans are exposed to increasing levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) at various frequencies as technology advances. In this context, improving understanding of the biological effects of EMF remains an important, high priority issue. Although a number of studies in this issue and elsewhere have focused on the mechanisms of the oxidative stress caused by EMF, the precise understanding of the processes involved remains to be elucidated. Due to unclear results among the studies, the issue of EMF exposure in the literature should be evaluated at the genomic level on the reproductive system. Based on this requirement, a detail review of recently published studies is necessary. The main objectives of this study are to show differences between negative and positive effect of EMF on the reproductive system of animal and human. Extensive review of literature has been made based on well known data bases like Web of Science, PubMed, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Science Direct, Scopus. This paper reviews the current literature and is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the genotoxic effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones and wireless systems on the human reproductive system, especially on fertility. The current literature reveals that mobile phones can affect cellular functions via non-thermal effects. Although the cellular targets of global system for mobile communications (GSM)-modulated EMF are associated with the cell membrane, the subject is still controversial. Studies regarding the genotoxic effects of EMF have generally focused on DNA damage. Possible mechanisms are related to ROS formation due to oxidative stress. EMF increases ROS production by enhancing the activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) oxidase in the cell membrane. Further detailed studies are needed to elucidate DNA damage mechanisms and apoptotic pathways during oogenesis and spermatogenesis in germ cells exposed to EMF.


This paper reviews the current literature and is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the genotoxic effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones and wireless systems on the human reproductive system, especially on fertility. The current literature reveals that mobile phones can affect cellular functions via non-thermal effects (Diem et al., 2005; Hanci et al., 2013 ;  Odaci et al., 2016a). Although the cellular targets of GSM-modulated EMF are associated with the cell membrane, the subject is still controversial (Eberhardt et al., 2008). Studies regarding the genotoxic effects of EMF have generally focused on DNA damage (Mortelmans and Rupa, 2004; Young, 2002; Zeiger, 2004; Panagopoulos, 2012 ;  Turedi et al., 2016). Possible mechanisms are related to ROS formation due to oxidative stress (Moustafa et al., 2004; Hanukoglu et al., 2006). EMF increases ROS production by enhancing the activity of NADH oxidase in the cell membrane (Friedman et al., 2007b). In this context, EMF affected spermatozoa may have a high degree rate of infertilization. It seems that previous genomic studies do not show definitive evidence regarding EMF affected cells in the fertilization. Although we evaluated broadly the genomic effects of cell phone exposure on the reproductive system using both animal and human studies, one of the weaknesses of this work is insufficient review of human studies. This may come from limited number of EMF based human studies in the literature. Further detailed studies are needed to elucidate DNA damage mechanisms and apoptotic pathways during oogenesis and spermatogenesis in germ cells that are exposed to EMF.


Altun G, Deniz OG, Yurt KK, Davis D, Kaplan S. Effects of mobile phone exposure on metabolomics in the male and female reproductive systems. Environ Res. 2018 Nov;167:700-707. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.02.031. 


• Long-term exposure to EMF decreases sperm motility and fertilization.
• Effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones are related to protein synthesis.
• Oxidative stress based EMF exposure modulates nitric oxide level in the germ cells.
• Oxidative stress based EMF exposure inhibits antioxidant mechanisms in the germ cells.


With current advances in technology, a number of epidemiological and experimental studies have reported a broad range of adverse effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on human health. Multiple cellular mechanisms have been proposed as direct causes or contributors to these biological effects. EMF-induced alterations in cellular levels can activate voltage-gated calcium channels and lead to the formation of free radicals, protein misfolding and DNA damage. Because rapidly dividing germ cells go through meiosis and mitosis, they are more sensitive to EMF in contrast to other slower-growing cell types. In this review, possible mechanistic pathways of the effects of EMF exposure on fertilization, oogenesis and spermatogenesis are discussed. In addition, the present review also evaluates metabolomic effects of GSM-modulated EMFs on the male and female reproductive systems in recent human and animal studies. In this context, experimental and epidemiological studies which examine the impact of mobile phone radiation on the processes of oogenesis and spermatogenesis are examined in line with current approaches.


EMF emitted by mobile phones has a number of well-documented adverse metabolomic effects on the male and female reproductive systems and can lead to infertility by increasing ROS production and reducing GSH and other antioxidants. The primary target of the EMF emitted by mobile phones may be the cell membrane (Pall in press, this volume). This then results in accelerated activity of membrane NADH oxidase and, consequently, greater rates of ROS formation that cannot be easily conjugated or detoxified. Although many studies have reported morphological and functional deteriorations in testis and ovary following EMF exposures, as well both structural and functional deficits in reproductive health, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. To assist in further clarification of these processes and mechanisms, Table 1 summarizes key studies on the metabolomic effects of EMF on reproductive systems. Future studies will benefit greatly from standardized exposure protocols and evaluations of key metabolomic indicators.


Sepehrimanesh, M. & Davis, D.L. Proteomic impacts of electromagnetic fields on the male reproductive system. Comp Clin Pathol. 26(2):309-313. 2017. doi:10.1007/s00580-016-2342-x. 


The use of mobile phones and other wireless transmitting devices is increasing dramatically in developing and developed countries, as is the rate of infertility. A number of respected infertility clinics in Australia, India, USA, and Iran are reporting that those who regularly use mobile phones tend to have reduced sperm quantity and quality. Some experimental studies have found that human sperm exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF), either simulated or from mobile phones, developed biomarkers of impaired structure and function, as well as reduced quantity. These encompass pathological, endocrine, and proteomic changes. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms, and the proteome is the entire array of proteins—the ultimate biomolecules in the pathways of DNA transcription to translation. Proteomics is the art and science of studying all proteins in cells, using different techniques. This paper reviews proteomic experimental and clinical evidence that EMF acts as a male-mediated teratogen and contributor to infertility.


As among the most rapidly proliferating human cells, spermatogenesis and associated activities offer an important endpoint for evaluation. More than 60 different compounds or industrial processes have been identified as increasing defects in human sperm or testicular tissue and possibly increasing the risk to offspring from male-mediated exposures. In this study, we reviewed structural and functional proteomic changes related to EMF exposure. Reported changes are categorized based on main affected tissue and also the most important adverse effects. Overall, these results demonstrate significant effects of radio frequency-modulated EMF exposure on the proteome, including both structural and functional impacts such as a decrease in the diameter and weight of the seminiferous tubules and the mean height of the germinal epithelium (Ozguner et al. 2005) and/or pathological and physiological changes in key biochemical components of the testicular tissues (Luo et al. 2013). These structural and functional changes may account for the pathological impact of EMF on the male reproductive system reported in the experimental work that we and others have conducted. While EMF is currently being used for a number of therapeutic applications (REF), the work we have reviewed here clearly indicates a range of harmful effects, especially on genital systems.


Houston B, Nixon B, King BV, De Iuliis G, Aitken RJ. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on sperm function. Reproduction. 2016 Dec;152(6):R263-R276. 


Mobile phone usage has become an integral part of our lives. However, the effects of the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by these devices on biological systems and specifically the reproductive systems are currently under active debate. A fundamental hindrance to the current debate is that there is no clear mechanism of how such non-ionising radiation influences biological systems. Therefore, we explored the documented impacts of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system and considered any common observations that could provide insights on a potential mechanism. 

Among a total of 27 studies investigating the effects of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system, negative consequences of exposure were reported in 21. Within these 21 studies, 11 of the 15 that investigated sperm motility reported significant declines, 7 of 7 that measured the production of reactive oxygen species documented elevated levels and 4 of 5 studies that probed for DNA damage highlighted increased damage, due to RF-EMR exposure. Associated with this, RF-EMR treatment reduced antioxidant levels in 6 of 6 studies that studied this phenomenon, while consequences of RF-EMR were successfully ameliorated with the supplementation of antioxidants in all 3 studies that carried out these experiments. 

In light of this, we envisage a two-step mechanism whereby RF-EMR is able to induce mitochondrial dysfunction leading to elevated ROS production. 

A continued focus on research which aims to shed light on the biological effects of RF-EMR will allow us to test and assess this proposed mechanism in a variety of cell types.


To date, contradictory studies surrounding the impacts of RF-EMR on biological systems maintain controversy over this subject. Nevertheless, research into the biological responses stimulated by RF-EMR is particularly important given our ever-increasing use of mobile phone technology. While clinical studies are identifying possible detrimental effects of RF-EMR, it is imperative that mechanistic studies are conducted that elucidate the manner in which RF-EMR perturbs biological function, thus supplying a rational cause. A focus on the male reproductive system may experience as consequences of the personal storage of mobile devices, the unique vulnerability of the highly specialised sperm cell, and the future health burden that may be created if conception proceeds with defective, DNA-damaged spermatozoa. While this subject remains a topic of active debate, this review has considered the growing body of evidence suggesting a possible role for RF-EMR induced damage of the male germ line. In a majority of studies, this damage has been characterized by loss of sperm motility and viability as well as the induction of ROS generation and DNA damage. We have therefore given consideration to the potential mechanisms through which RF-EMR may elicit these effects on spermatozoa, which we utilized as a sensitive model system. We propose a mechanistic model in which RF-EMR exposure leads to defective mitochondrial function associated with elevated levels of ROS production and culminates in a state of oxidative stress that would account the varying phenotypes observed in response to RF-EMR exposure. With further complementary data, this model will provide new impetus to the field and stimulate research that will allow us to confidently assess the reproductive hazards of mobile phone usage.


Adams JA, Galloway TS, Mondal D, Esteves SC, Mathews F. Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environ Int.  2014 Sep;70:106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.04.015.


Mobile phones are owned by most of the adult population worldwide. Radio-frequency radiation (RFR) from these devices could affect sperm development and function. Around 14% of couples in high- and middle-income countries have difficulty conceiving. Male infertility is involved approximately 40% of the time. Several countries have reported unexplained declines in semen quality.
Animal research has found that RFR can affect the cell cycle of sperm, increase sperm cell death and produce histological changes in the testes. Research on humans has found that prolonged mobile phone use is associated with decreased motility, sperm concentration, morphology and viability suggesting a likely impact on fertility.

The authors of this peer-reviewed study conducted a systematic review of the research and a quantitative analysis to determine whether exposure to mobile phone radiation affects human sperm quality. Participants were from fertility clinics and research centers.

The study examined the sperm quality outcome measures most frequently used to assess fertility in clinical settings: motility (the ability to move properly through the female reproductive tract), viability (the ability to fertilize the egg), and concentration (the number of sperm in a milliliter of ejaculate).

Ten studies were examined including 1,492 human sperm samples. Exposure to mobile phones was found to be associated with a significant eight per cent average reduction in sperm motility and a significant nine per cent average reduction in sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were more equivocal. The results were consistent across experimental laboratory studies and correlational observational studies.

The authors concluded that the overall results suggest that mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality in humans. The clinical importance of these effects  in this study may be limited to subfertile men and to men at the lower-end of the normal spectrum.
Open access paper:


Liu K, Li Y, Zhang G, Liu J, Cao J, Ao L, Zhang S. 
Association between mobile phone use and semen quality: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Andrology. 2014 Jul;2(4):491-501.


Possible hazardous health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiations emitted from mobile phone on the reproductive system have raised public concern in recent years. This systemic review and meta-analysis was prepared following standard procedures of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement and checklist. Relevant studies published up to May 2013 were identified from five major international and Chinese literature databases: Medline/PubMed, EMBASE, CNKI, the VIP database and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library. Eighteen studies with 3947 men and 186 rats were included in the systemic review, of which 12 studies (four human studies, four in vitro studies and four animal studies) with 1533 men and 97 rats were used in the meta-analyses. Systemic review showed that results of most of the human studies and in vitro laboratory studies indicated mobile phone use or radiofrequency exposure had negative effects on the various semen parameters studied. However, meta-analysis indicated that mobile phone use had no adverse effects on semen parameters in human studies. In the in vitro studies, meta-analysis indicated that radiofrequency radiation had detrimental effect on sperm motility and viability in vitro [pooled mean difference (MDs) (95% CI): -4.11 (-8.08, -0.13), -3.82 (-7.00, -0.65) for sperm motility and viability respectively]. As for animal studies, radiofrequency exposure had harmful effects on sperm concentration and motility [pooled MDs (95% CI): -8.75 (-17.37, -0.12), -17.72 (-32.79, -2.65) for sperm concentration and motility respectively]. Evidence from current studies suggests potential harmful effects of mobile phone use on semen parameters. A further multicentred and standardized study is needed to assess the risk of mobile phone use on the reproductive system.

Recent Studies (Updated: 6/23/2021)

Abeer M. Hagras, Eman A. Toraih, Manal S. Fawzy. Mobile phones electromagnetic radiation and NAD+-dependent Isocitrate Dehydrogenase as a mitochondrial marker in Asthenozoospermia. Biochimie Open. Available online July 25, 2016.

Adams JA, Galloway TS, Mondal D, Esteves SC, Mathews F. Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International70:106-112. September 2014.

Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertil Steril. 2008 Jan;89(1):124-8.

Agarwal A, Desai NR, Makker K, Varghese A, Mouradi R, Sabanegh E, Sharma R. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2009;92(4):1318-25.

Agarwal A, Singh A, Hamada A, Kesari K. Cell phones and male infertility: a review of recent innovations in technology and consequences.Int Braz J Urol. 2011; 37(4):432-54.

Akbari HA, Gaeini AA. Moderate exercise training as an effective strategy to reduce the harmful effects of cell phone radiation on Wistar rat's semen quality. Int J Radiation Research. 19(2):317-323. 2021. doi: 10.18869/acadpub.ijrr.19.2.317.

Akdag MZ, Dasdag S, Canturk F, Karabulut D, Caner Y, Adalier N. Does prolonged radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices induce DNA damage in various tissues of rats? J Chem Neuroanat. 2016 Jan 8.

Al-Bayyari N. Middle East Fertility Society Journal.  The effect of cell phone usage on semen quality and fertility among Jordanian males. Published online Apr 7, 2017.

Al-Quzwini OF, Al-Taee, Al-Shaikh SF. Male fertility and its association with occupational and mobile phone towers hazards: An analytic study. Middle East Fertility Society Journal. 2016 Apr 8.

Bin-Meferij MM, El-Kott AF. The radioprotective effects of Moringa oleifera against mobile phone electromagnetic radiation-induced infertility in rats.Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Aug 15;8(8):12487-97.

Boga A, Emre M, Sertdemir Y, Uncu İ, Binokay S, Demirhan O. Effects of GSM-like radiofrequency irradiation during the oogenesis and spermiogenesis of Xenopus laevis. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2016 Mar 24;129:137-144.

Çetkin M, Kızılkan N, Demirel C, Bozdağ Z, Erkılıç S, Erbağcı H. Quantitative changes in testicular structure and function in rat exposed to mobile phone radiation. Andrologia. 2017 Jan 26.

Fatehi D, Anjomshoa M, Mohammadi M, Seify M, Rostamzadeh A. Biological effects of cell-phone radiofrequency waves exposure on fertilization in mice; an in vivo and in vitro study. Middle East Fertility Society Journal. 23 October 2017.

Ford-Glanton BS, Melendez BA. Male Reproductive Toxicants: Electromagnetic Radiation and Heat. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. 2018.

Gautam R, Singh KV, Nirala J, Murmu NN, Meena R, Rajamani P. Oxidative stress-mediated alterations on sperm parameters in male Wistar rats exposed to 3G mobile phone radiation. Andrologia. 2019 Apr 51(3):e13201.

Gao XH, Hu HR, Ma X2, Chen J, Zhang GH. [Cellphone electromagnetic radiation damages the testicular ultrastructure of male rats]. [Article in Chinese].  Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2016 Jun;22(6):491-495.

Gohari FA, Saranjam B, Asgari M, Omidi L, Ekrami H, Moussavi-Najarkola SA. An experimental study of the effects of combined exposure to microwave and heat on gene expression and sperm parameters in mice. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2017 Apr-Jun;10(2):128-134.

Hancı H, Kerimoğlu G, Mercantepe T, Odacı E. Changes in testicular morphology and oxidative stress biomarkers in 60-day-old Sprague Dawley rats following exposure to continuous 900-MHz electromagnetic field for 1 h a day throughout adolescence. Reprod Toxicol. 2018 Oct;81:71-78.

Hatch EE, Willis SK, Wesselink AK, Mikkelsen EM, Eisenberg ML, Sommer GJ, Sorensen HT, Rothman KJ, Wise LA. Male cellular telephone exposure, fecundability, and semen quality: results from two preconception cohort studies. Hum Reprod. 2021 Apr 20;36(5):1395-1404. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deab001.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Research on Wireless Radiation Exposure to the Immune System

Immunity and Electromagnetic Fields (Review paper)

Piotr Piszczek, Karolina Wójcik-Piotrowicz, Krzysztof Gil, Jolanta Kaszuba-Zwoińska. Immunity and electromagnetic fields. Environ Res. 2021 Jun 11;111505. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111505.


Despite many studies, the question about the positive or negative influence of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on living organisms still remains an unresolved issue. To date, the results are inconsistent and hardly comparable between different laboratories. The observed bio-effects are dependent not only on the applied EMF itself, but on many other factors such as the model system tested or environmental ones. In an organism, the role of the defense system against external stressors is played by the immune system consisting of various cell types. The immune cells are engaged in many physiological processes and responsible for the proper functioning of the whole organism. Any factor with an ability to cause immunomodulatory effects may weaken or enhance the response of the immune system. This review is focused on a wide range electromagnetic fields as a possible external factor which may modulate the innate and/or adaptive immunity. Considering the existing databases, we have compiled the bio-effects evoked by EMF in particular immune cell types involved in different types of immune response, with the common mechanistic models and mostly activated intracellular signaling cascade pathways.


• Immune system cells are influenced by exposure to EMFs.
• EMFs might modulate effector activities of immune response.
• Bio-effectiveness is related to the frequency range of EMFs and cell types.
• Cellular changes might be enhanced by synergic effects of EMFs and other stressors.


"The theoretical approaches most frequently cited in the literature are based on concepts such as resonant absorption (Blanchard and Blackman, 1994; Engström, 1996), effects on bio-molecules with magnetic properties (Kirschvink, 1992; Pall, 2013; Yamagashi et al., 1992), ionic transport (Gartzke and Lange, 2002; Panagopoulos et al., 2002) and modulation of Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways (Liboff et al., 2003; Pilla, 2012), radical pair mechanism (RPM), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) chemistry (Eveson et al., 2000; Mattsson and Simkó, 2014; Tang et al., 2016)....


Currently it is extremely difficult to select an intracellular mechanism that could play a dominant role in viability and/or effector activities modulation of various types of immune cells under EMF exposure in a wide range of parameters. The large number of results obtained for various EMF parameters and experimental conditions do not allow for a simple comparison of findings across different laboratories. Nevertheless, most of the studies are in agreement that:

(i) there is no generally accepted physical and/or biological mechanism of EMF action independently on type of the studies (i.e., in vivo/in vitro);

(ii) there is lack of conclusive evidence of EMF genotoxic effects;

(iii) findings concerning intracellular effects such as EMF-induced modulation of: gene expression, heat-shock proteins level, surface of cell membrane and cell morphology, signal transduction pathways, ions homeostasis and level of ROS [reactive oxygen species] cannot be excluded;

(iv) significant bio-effects are noticed for simultaneous EMF exposure with other cell stimuli (synergic effects);

(v) the response of various immune cells differs in an EMF type-dependent manner;

(vi) multidirectional research on immune cell cultures are certainly needed to be continued to understand potential risk of EMF exposure;

(vii) the influence of EMF on the innate immunity seems to be interesting issue in the context of aging process (Pawelec et al., 2020).

In summary, EMF seem to be a promising tool for modulation of various immune cell signaling pathways and immune system responses. Moreover, the studies concerning the action of electromagnetic fields alone or combined with medicaments are embedded in the mainstream of interests of EMF-related research in medicine and health care."


Mar 18, 2020

For a list of references to EMF immune system studies published since 2000 see:

The following paper on the effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation consists of excerpts from a research review published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2013 by Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski. 

Reaction of the Immune System to Low-Level RF/MW Exposures

Szmigielski S. Reaction of the immune system to low-level RF/MW exposures. Science of the Total Environment. 2013 Jun 1; 454-455:393-400. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.034.


Radiofrequency (RF) and microwave (MW) radiation have been used in the modern world for many years. The rapidly increasing use of cellular phones in recent years has seen increased interest in relation to the possible health effects of exposure to RF/MW radiation. In 2011 a group of international experts organized by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon) concluded that RF/MW radiations should be listed as a possible carcinogen (group 2B) for humans. The incomplete knowledge of RF/MW-related cancer risks has initiated searches for biological indicators sensitive enough to measure the "weak biological influence" of RF/MWs. One of the main candidates is the immune system, which is able to react in a measurable way to discrete environmental stimuli.

In this review, the impacts of weak RF/MW fields, including cell phone radiation, on various immune functions, both in vitro [cell culture studies] and in vivo [live animal studies], are discussed. The bulk of available evidence clearly indicates that various shifts in the number and/or activity of immunocompetent cells [cells that can develop an immune response] are possible, however the results are inconsistent. For example, a number of lymphocyte [small white blood cells especially found in the lymphatic system] functions have been found to be enhanced and weakened within single experiments based on exposure to similar intensities of MW radiation.

Certain premises exist which indicate that, in general, short-term exposure to weak MW radiation may temporarily stimulate certain humoral* or cellular immune functions, while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions.


“Recently, Jauchem (2008) reviewed the effects of RF/MW radiation on the immune system and concluded that although both positive and negative findings were reported in some studies, in a majority of instances no significant health effects were found. However, most studies had some methodological limitations. Some changes in immunoglobulin levels and in peripheral blood lymphocytes were reported in different studies of radar and radio/television-transmission workers (Moszczyński et al., 1999).”

Immunotropic effects of RF/MW exposure in in vitro studies

“In summary, it may be concluded that non-thermal intensities of RF/MW radiation may exert certain measurable effects and shifts in physiology of immunocompetent cells, however these effects appear to be weak, inconsistent and difficult to replicate. Among other stress reactions, induction of heat-shock proteins, altered reaction of lymphocytes to mitogens, weaken phagocytosis and/or bactericidal activity of macrophages were reported after in vitro exposure of isolated cells to arbitrarily chosen conditions of the exposure (frequency and modulation of the RF/MW radiation, power density, time and schedule of exposure, etc.).

From studies performed in our laboratories (Dąbrowski et al., 2003; Stankiewicz et al., 2006, 2010) it may be concluded that in vitro effects of non-thermal RF/MWs cannot be revealed using basic tests for assessment of function of immunocompetent cells (including typical microculture of lymphocytes with mitogen stimulation) and finer techniques (e.g., immunogenic activity of monocytes (LM index), T-cell suppressive activity (SAT index) or release of cytokines in microcultures of PBMC) are required to study the effects of RF/MW exposures. Nevertheless, nothing can be concluded on thresholds of the above phenomena, their mechanisms or relevance to health risks. None of the above discussed studies provides data which can be directly or indirectly linked to cancer development (Table 1).”

Effects of in vivo RF/MW exposures on function of the immune system

“In summary, studies of immune reactions in animals exposed to MWs provide controversial results with some papers reporting no measurable response, while in others positive results were obtained. The available bulk of evidence from numerous experimental studies in vivo aimed to assess the effects of short-term and prolonged low-level MW exposure on function and status of the immune system clearly indicates that various shifts in number and/or activity of immunocompetent cells are possible. However, the results are incoherent; the same functions of lymphocytes are reported to be weaken[ed] or enhanced in single experiments with MW exposures at similar intensities and radiation parameters. There exist premises that in general, short-term exposure to weak MWs may temporarily stimulate certain humoral or cellular immune functions, while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions (Grigoriev et al., 2010). There exist papers which report changes in NK [natural killer] cell activity or TNF** release in MW-exposed animals, but clinical relevance or relation to carcinogenicity of these findings is doubtful.” 

[* Humoral immunity is mediated by macromolecules found in extracellular fluids such as secreted antibodies, complement proteins, and certain antimicrobial peptides.]

[** Tumor necrosis factor is a cell signaling protein involved in systemic inflammation.]


A list of studies of the biologic and health effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation published since the year 2000 can be downloaded at:


Dr. Szmigielski signed the Catania Resolution in 2002:

The Catania Resolution

According to several reports, a group of scientists issued a statement on EMF at a meeting in September.

They were attending the international conference “State of the Research on Electromagnetic Fields—Scientific and Legal Issues,” organized by ISPESL, the University of Vienna, and the City of Catania. ISPESL is a technical-scientific branch of the National Health Service that advises industry on protection of occupational health and well-being in the workplace. In Catania, Italy, on Sept. 13 and 14, 2002, they agreed to the following:

Epidemiological and in vivo and in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates the existence for electromagnetic field (EMF) induced effects, some of which can be adverse to health.

We take exception to arguments suggesting that weak (low intensity) EMF cannot interact with tissue.

There are plausible mechanistic explanations for EMF-induced effects which occur below present ICNIRP and IEEE guidelines and exposure recommendations by the European Union.

The weight of evidence calls for preventive strategies based on the precautionary principle. At times the precautionary principle may involve prudent avoidance and prudent use.

We are aware that there are gaps in knowledge on biological and physical effects, and health risks related to EMF, which require additional independent research.

The undersigned scientists agree to establish an international scientific commission to promote research for the protection of public health from EMF and to develop the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication of risk, based on the precautionary principle.