Carry a smartphone in your pocket?
Or spend hours with your laptop perched on your lap? You might be surprised to know that both may be lowering your fertility.
Why? Because everything from your cell phone, laptop and wireless router to any wireless and Bluetooth devices you use emit what is known as EMF radiation.
EMF radiation is low-frequency energy emitted from any device that has a battery or is plugged into a socket. EMF stands for electromagnetic radiation and has both an 'electric' and a 'magnetic' field.
Many are highly sensitive to these constant EMF frequencies and feel unwell when engulfed by them.
But, to put it in a nutshell, EMF radiation, especially consistent long-term EMF exposure is known to cause many health problems, including adversely affecting reproductive organs and potentially causing infertility.
Around 14% of couples in high and middle-income countries have difficulty conceiving.
So, if you're concerned that carrying a phone in your pocket or radiation from your laptop may affect your ability to have children, then read on.
In this post, we'll discuss how EMF radiation affects fertility, why the research is concerning, and how anti-radiation underwear can provide the EMF protection you need.
Table of Contents
- EMF and Infertility
- Laptop Radiation and Infertility
- WiFi Radiation and Infertility
- Cell Phone Radiation and Infertility
- The Research: How EMF Radiation Affects Fertility
- Why Should We Be Concerned?
- Improving Male Fertility Naturally
- What is Anti-Radiation Underwear?
- How Anti-Radiation Underwear Works
- Key Takeaways
EMF and Infertility
Did you know that about 10% of all men in the United States who are attempting to conceive suffer from infertility?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, both "biological and environmental factors can impact male fertility."
One of these factors, according to the image below is "radiation."
Source: Cleveland Clinic
Harmful EMF radiation can alter the natural frequencies or "bioelectrical signals" of our body, damaging tissues, and cells. It can affect everything from our immunity, cognitive function, stress levels, sleep cycles, fertility, and even our very DNA.
Non-ionizing EMF exposure, which covers everything from radio waves and microwaves to visible light and infrared (you can read all about it here), does not have enough energy to break molecular bonds, but even with low energy, at certain frequencies, thermal or heat energy can cause damage to tissues and cells.
Laptop Radiation and Infertility
The bottom of your laptop can emit radiation as high as a whopping 100 milliGauss (compare this with power lines that emit in the range of 10-70 milliGauss and are still linked to childhood leukemia). Also, the older your laptop, the more EMFs it can generate.
One study that documented the harmful effects of laptop-induced currents on pregnant women and the fetus in the womb suggested that laptop computers or LTCs should be "renamed to not induce customers towards an improper use."
Watch this video below to learn more about the dangers of laptop radiation and how it affects your body's biology. Pay specific attention to EMF measurements taken from a laptop that is constantly plugged in and charging, to when it is not connected to a charger.
There's also research that documents the effects of laptop computers connected wirelessly to (Wi-Fi) on human sperm from healthy donors.
The study showed that sperm samples exposed for 4 hours to a laptop connected to WiFi "showed a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation."
The study emphasized that "keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility."
With infertility rates rising, placing a laptop on your lap, close to your reproductive organs while working, is highly risky. The FCC recommends maintaining a distance of at least 20 cm between you and your laptop.
However, one study finds that "this 20 cm rule contradicts the “normal operating position” regulation in the description “a separation distance of at least 20 cm is normally maintained.” Indeed, “laptop” computer directly implies that it is to be placed on a lap which is not 20 cm distant from the user."
To learn more, read our blog post: Do Wireless Routers Give Off Radiation?
If you tend to work with your laptop on your lap, Faraday Fabric is a worthwhile investment. It can block over 99% of damaging EMFs emitted from the bottom of your laptop and also reduce thermal heat to your privates.
WiFi Radiation and Infertility
A study in Hong Kong unveiled that exposure to WiFi actually "lowers fertility rates" and kills sperm. Conducted in Japan, on 51 men, the "study showed that prolonged exposure to the waves from Wi-Fi devices lowered male fertility."
Sperm samples were split into 3 groups - samples that had no exposure to EMF from a Wi-Fi router, samples that were protected by a small shield that intercepted the waves, and samples that were fully exposed to Wi-Fi.
The samples were "placed near a pocket Wi-Fi router, in the way that a mobile phone would be carried in a man's trousers."
What's important to note is that in a time frame of 30-60 minutes, there wasn't much difference in sperm motility (motion) rate.
However, when the time frame was increased to 2 hours to 24 hours, "the study found that the longer the exposure, the lower the sperm motility rate and the higher the death rate."
This study is an important one as it throws light on low fertility rates but also foresees the potential negative impact WiFi can have on the rest of the body with long-term exposure.
Another study supports the above research stating that "Wi-Fi Radiofrequency radiation" within a connected laptop may decrease sperm quality when placed and used on the lap.
Cell Phone Radiation and Infertility
Do you constantly keep your cell phone in your pocket for hours on end?
A study coming out of the UK found that "men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father."
Conducted using 1,492 sperm samples, the study measured sperm "motility (the ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg), viability (the proportion of sperm that were alive) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen)."
Researchers discovered that in sperm that have a normal movement of 50-85% fell by an average of "8 percentage points when there was exposure to mobile phones." Similar effects were also seen for sperm viability.
The lead researcher, Dr. Fiona Mathews, of Biosciences at the University of Exeter stated that "This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality," and that it could have even more implications for men who are "already on the borderline of infertility."
Cell Phone SAR Ratings
Now, you might be thinking, what about SAR ratings? If you think your phone falls under supposedly acceptable SAR values, think again.
SAR or Specific Absorption Rate is a measurement of the "rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field."
A 2015 study showed that even at lower radiation levels, cell phone signals accelerated faster tumor growth in mice, disputing the fact that SAR should not be the only form of measurement to determine low-EMF damage.
The research emphasized that "tumor-promoting effects in our study were seen at low to moderate exposure levels (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), thus well below exposure limits for the users of mobile phones."
This is far below regulated safety standards in countries worldwide, and many times less than the USA's maximum SAR rating of 1.60 W/Kg, making certain phones like the iPhone 7 (1.38 SAR), OnePlus 6T (1.55 SAR) and Google Pixel3 XL (1.39 SAR), way above the numbers reported in the study.
So now we know that it's not just the thermal aspect of EMF radiation that causes biological harm, but also the frequencies themselves. So, just because your phone meets SAR requirements does not mean it's okay to keep it inches away from your privates.
Cell Phones and Bluetooth
Now, a lot of times you'll read about not holding up a cell phone to your head while talking, and to use speakerphone instead, as doing that emits a significant amount of EMFs going to your brain.
And, there's truth in that. A groundbreaking study demonstrated that just 50 minutes of holding a wirelessly connected cell phone next to the head (and brain) increases the rate of glucose metabolism and alters the brain's electrical activity, potentially leading to inflammation and disease.
And while that is disturbing in itself, what's important to note in this study is that even at low levels, EMFs can affect the body's biochemistry.
So, you've got to remember that when you use Bluetooth headphones, you might think you're protecting your brain, but if you have your cell phone placed in your trouser pocket for hours — you're affecting your reproductive organs without realizing it.
There's also an entire article we've done on the dangers of Bluetooth radiation and wireless headphones that you might want to read.
Below, we'll take a detailed look at some of the other research that shows a clear link between EMF radiation and infertility.
The Research: How EMF Radiation Affects Fertility
There's good reason to never tuck your mobile phone in your pocket or bra. Studies have shown that "long–term semen exposure in the area of mobile phone RF–EMR leads to a significant decrease in the number of sperm," and that men should "avoid holding a mobile phone in a trouser pocket for long periods of time."
This has even been supported by some government agencies recently, with the California Department of Public Health recommending that phones should not be carried in a pocket, and that "radiofrequency (RF) signals from phones may be linked to certain types of cancer, lower sperm count, memory problems and loss of sleep."
Apart from the mounting evidence on the harmful effects of EMFs on so many different levels, including radiation from a host of different devices as seen above, below are some research studies that specifically highlight the link between electromagnetic (EM) radiation and their negative effects on fertility:
Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study
361 men who were undergoing evaluation for infertility were divided into 4 groups (A, B, C, and D) based on their cell phone use.
- group A: no use
- group B: less than 2 hrs/day
- group C: 2-4 hrs/day
- group D: more than 4 hrs/day
The study concluded that "use of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men by decreasing the sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology. The decrease in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to cell phones and independent of the initial semen quality."
The study emphasized that "in all four cell phone user groups as the duration of daily exposure to cell phones increased," sperm parameters such as "mean sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology" decreased.
Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study
Samples taken from healthy donors as well as infertile patients were evaluated after being exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones.
The samples exposed to RF-EMW showed a considerable decrease in sperm motility and viability, an increase in ROS (reactive oxygen species ) level, and a decrease in ROS-TAC (total antioxidant capacity) score.
The study concluded that "radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones may lead to oxidative stress in human semen. We speculate that keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility."
The influence of direct mobile phone radiation on sperm quality
Sperm samples from 32 healthy men were divided into groups A and B.
- Group A: Samples were placed in a thermostat for 5 hours
- Group B: Samples were placed in a thermostat for 5 hours with a cell phone in standby/talk mode
In Group B, "the number of non–progressive movement spermatozoa was significantly higher in the group, which was influenced by cell phone radiation. The DNA fragmentation was also significantly higher in this group."
The study concluded that "a correlation exists between mobile phone radiation exposure, DNA–fragmentation level and decreased sperm motility."
Effects of mobile phone exposure on metabolomics in the male and female reproductive systems
Research coming out of Turkey shows that long-term mobile phone exposure can decrease sperm motility and fertilization, and increase oxidative stress.
The study stated that "EMF-induced alterations" can "lead to the formation of free radicals, protein misfolding and DNA damage."
It concluded that "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."
Association between daily exposure to electromagnetic radiation from 4G smartphone and 2.45-GHz wi-fi and oxidative damage to semen of males attending a genetics clinic: a primary study
Semen quality and oxidative stress were measured in 3 groups of men after being exposed to electromagnetic radiation from an 1800-MHz 4G smartphone network and 2.45-GHz Wi-Fi.
The exposure levels were as follows:
- Group one: less than 30 mins
- Group two: 31-120 mins
- Group three: more than 121 mins
The results showed that "with extended exposure time, reactive oxygen increased," while "antioxidant capacity" along with "sperm count, vitality, and motility decreased significantly."
The study concluded that "electromagnetic radiation may induce oxidative stress, damage sperm nuclear DNA, and eventually reduce sperm quality; these factors negatively affect male fertility."
Radiations and male fertility
This article is an amalgamation and a review of a mountain of research "focusing on radiation deriving from cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens, as these are the most common sources of non-ionizing radiations, which may contribute to the cause of infertility by exploring the effect of exposure to radiofrequency radiations on the male fertility pattern."
The review reveals that "exposure to cell phones, microwave ovens, laptops, or Wi-Fi produces deleterious effects on the testes, which may affect sperm count, morphology, motility, an increased DNA damage, causing micronuclei formation and genomic instability, as well as disruptions in protein kinases, hormones and antioxidative enzymes. Such effects were found to be responsible for infertility due to an over-production of ROS in exposed cells."
Why Should We Be Concerned?
All of this research linking EMF radiation to fertility is very very scary. The review we mentioned above also addresses this stating that "very limited research is available on protective measures, which worsens the problem as the electro-smog pollution is constantly increasing and one could then expect even more health problems including increased rates of male infertility due to such kind of radiation."
It's also especially concerning since over the last 4 decades sperm counts across the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe have declined by more than 50%. This means that the men today are producing "half the sperm" that their grandfathers did and are "half as fertile."
EMF radiation is responsible for a whole lot of other issues and health concerns, which all have their research-backed data.
If you're new to EMF radiation or want to learn more about the dangers of EMF exposure, we suggest you read some of the other eye-opening posts on this site to see why EMF radiation is currently all the rage.
- What is EMF Radiation?
- Should You Be Concerned About EMF Exposure? Here's Everything You Need to Know
- Top 35 Tips to Protect Against EMF Dangers That You Must Know
- Unrivaled Guide: What is Faraday Fabric or RF Blocking Material & How to Use it for EMF Protection
Improving Male Fertility Naturally
Many factors play a role in male fertility, including hormonal issues, overall lifestyle, dietary habits, exercise, weight, age, drugs, smoking, alcohol use and more.
Environmental pollutants such as pesticides and chemicals, processed foods, GMO foods and even over the counter or prescription drugs may adversely impact sperm production. If you're looking to improve your fertility naturally these are all areas you should pay close attention to.
But, don't forget EMFs. Based on all of the research above, there seems to be a significantly strong correlation between cell phone use and a decrease in sperm motility and morphology that you should be concerned about.
So, what can you do about it? We've got a solution below.
What is Anti-Radiation Underwear?
On the move and constantly need to stay connected? It's hard not to keep your phone in your pocket. But remember, your phone sits in your pocket...sometimes for hours perhaps, just a few inches from your precious privates.
Also...how many times have you propped a laptop on your lap to wrap up some last-minute work or watch a late-night movie? That's literally thermal heat and radiation roasting your...
Need we say more?
And, based on the research here, even if you're NOT doing any of the above, even frequencies emitted by your WiFi router may be detrimental to your sperm count.
Why take that chance?
With anti-radiation underwear, you can shield and protect your reproductive organs from close to 99% of harmful electromagnetic radiation, and all you need to do is simply slip on a pair, or you can use faraday fabric instead as well - see how here.
Although the name might sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, well-designed anti-radiation underwear looks and feels just like regular underwear.
It's just underwear made from a special breathable material (that works similar to faraday fabric) that blocks EMF radiation.
You can think of it as a Faraday Cage for your personal parts. And oh, if you're worried about not being able to get through airport security, don't worry, that won't happen.
How Anti-Radiation Underwear Works
Most anti-radiation underwear is a blend of silver mesh (thin strands of silver, or sometimes copper or aluminum) woven into soft cotton, cotton-polyester, flannel, or the type of material blend used by the manufacturer.
How it works is that the material blocks or rather "attenuates" the radiation emitted from devices such as the smartphone in your pocket, the WiFi in your home and office, and the smart meter outside your bedroom window.
Measuring Shielding Effectiveness
To better understand how EMF protection underwear, and for that matter any type of anti-radiation or EMF shielding clothing works, we need to understand attenuation.
Generally speaking, attenuation is the reduction or loss of intensity or energy and is measured in decibels (dB).
Here are a few general examples to help you understand attenuation in action:
- Sunglasses help to attenuate the sunlight as it passes through to your eyes
- Wearing a lead apron attenuates strong radiation when you go in for an x-ray
- Your windows attenuate the sound of traffic from outside
Get the idea?
Now, when it comes to measuring shielding effectiveness, for example, from the material used to make anti-radiation underwear, "the effectiveness of a shielding material is how much the radiation is reduced while passing through the material compared to when there is unrestricted passage. This is called attenuation. The result is given in decibels," as seen below:
So, if you’re looking to buy EMF clothing or a pair of EMF protection boxers on the net, and they mention the protection level to be let's say 20 dB, you can then presume that it blocks out 99% of EMF radiation. Anything let's say over 10 dB but under 20 dB will block anywhere between 90%-99% of radiation.
Levels of Protection
Another key point to note is that no EMF protection underwear or clothing will promise 100% shielding. This is because with any type of attenuation, whether you take the sunlight coming through your sunglasses, or the windows blocking the traffic noise from the outside — some of the sun and the noise is bound to get in.
So although it would not be correct to say that anti-radiation underwear lets no radiation in, it would also be incorrect to say that it does nothing at all. And anything over 99% is better than 0%.
So, when shopping for anti-radiation underwear the higher the decibels (dB) rating mentioned the better — that way you know that you are getting the best possible protection.
What About 5G?
Now, a lot of people may have the question — does EMF protection underwear protect from 5G frequencies and signals?
Although mmWave technology is the "vision" for 5G in the next few years, it will take an immense amount of resources to build the millimeter wave-based small cell infrastructure that 5G demands. Most mobile carriers are not equipped for that just yet, so currently 5G runs on low-band and mid-band RF connections with RF frequencies from 200 MHz to 8 GHz, which covers most of the current live 5G roll-outs from most carriers.
To learn more, read our comprehensive post on: How to Protect Yourself from 5G Radiation (With 20+ Action Steps and Tools)
Most anti-radiation underwear today will protect at these frequency levels, but more testing will need to be done to determine shielding effectiveness for higher frequency ranges.
- Long-term EMF exposure is known to cause many health problems, including potentially causing infertility
- Non-ionizing radiation such as those from cell phones, WiFi, laptops, and other devices can all adversely affect sperm count
- Research has shown that EMF radiation can decrease sperm motility and increase oxidative stress as well as sperm DNA fragmentation
- This is scary as over the last 40 years male fertility rates have fallen by 50% and men are half as fertile today
- Natural precautions in the form of proper diet, exercise and lifestyle changes may help improve fertility
- To protect your reproductive organs from harmful EMF radiation anti-radiation underwear or using RF blocking material is a worthwhile investment