There's a huge misconception that fertility is a "woman's" problem. When a couple is having a tough time conceiving, a lot of people may think that the problem is with the woman.
However, according to recent statistics "of all infertility cases, approximately 40–50% is due to “male factor” infertility" and can be attributed to factors such as "low sperm concentration, poor sperm motility, or abnormal morphology."
So, what this means is that around 50% of the time, problems with male fertility is the cause for a couple failing to conceive.
And, this fact is supported by global statistics...
Male infertility is on the rise, and the rates are quite alarming.
Over the last 40 years, sperm counts across developed parts of the world such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe have declined by more than 50%.
What this means is that men today are producing "half the sperm" that their grandfathers did and are "half as fertile."
An article in The New York Times suggested that "male health in the modern world is at risk, possibly threatening fertility," as sperm counts in first-world nations dropped a whopping 59.3% from 1973 to 2011.
Researchers attribute hormonal issues, poor lifestyle, dietary habits, exercise, weight, age, drugs, smoking, alcohol use, including environmental pollutants such as pesticides and chemicals such as phthalates found in shampoos, processed foods, GMO foods, and even over the counter or prescription drugs as possible causes of male infertility.
But with 20% of infertility cases having "no identifiably known cause" you might want to think twice before you carry your smartphone in your pocket or put your laptop on your lap.
Recent research shows that EMFs or electromagnetic fields emitted by all types of electrical devices (including your cell phone and your laptop) emit low-frequency energy waves that can damage cellular processes in the body and cause many health problems, including adversely affecting reproductive organs and potentially causing male infertility.
With male infertility rates rising rapidly and sperm counts projected to fall "by an average of 1.4% a year," EMF exposure due to the enormous influx of technology all around us, simply cannot be ruled out.
In this post, we'll explore what EMFs are, how EMF radiation affects male fertility, and cover 10 EMF protection tips to best protect yourself (and your privates):
Table of Contents
- What are EMFs?
- How EMFs Affect the Body
- Can EMFs Damage Sperm?
- Duration of daily exposure to cell phones is directly proportionate to sperm damage
- Exposure to a laptop connected to Wi-Fi decreases sperm motility and impacts fertility
- Wi-Fi radiation lowers sperm motility and causes sperm death
- Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) from mobile phones induces oxidative stress
- Effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies (RF) EMFs on male fertility — a compilation of research
- Takeaways from the research
- EMF Protection Tips for Male Fertility
- Don't carry your smartphone in your trouser pocket
- Don't follow SAR ratings
- Put your phone on airplane mode
- Use speakerphone not Bluetooth
- Steer clear of the hip area
- Wear anti-radiation underwear
- Don't work with your laptop on your lap
- Try to be less "smart"
- Invest in an EMF meter
- Reduce EMF radiation around you
- Key Takeaways
What are EMFs?
Although we've covered everything you'd ever want to know about EMFs in this in-depth article, What is EMF Radiation?, to put it simply, EMFs are electromagnetic frequencies that emit both "electric" and "magnetic" energy.
EMFs come in a range of different frequencies ranging from low-frequency radiation (long wavelengths such as those of power lines) to high-frequency radiation (short wavelengths such as those of x-rays).
When it comes to EMFs and male fertility, what we'll be focusing on are frequencies known as non-ionizing frequencies, meaning they are not strong enough to break through molecular bonds (such as X-ray radiation and gamma rays) but can over a long period and with continued exposure, be extremely detrimental to your health.
Part of the non-ionizing spectrum is the RF (radio frequency) spectrum which are waves radiated by any wireless device that has an antenna.
They also include microwave radiation responsible for any type of cellular transmission and a host of applications you may be accustomed to using daily such as GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, your cordless phone, and microwave oven, and Bluetooth.
Due to the explosion of electrical devices, we are much more exposed to this type of low-frequency radiation today than ever before.
And, that begs the question...can an influx of EMFs be correlated to plummeting male fertility rates worldwide?
How EMFs Affect the Body
Research has shown that everything emits an electrical current. Its been scientifically proven that even the human body has its very own electromagnetic field with chemical processes in the body being triggered by electrical impulses.
Nerve impulses are conducted via electrical currents, and that is why with the largest electromagnetic field in the body, the heart's electrical field is measured using an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Artificial or harmful electrical waves, such as those emitted from smartphones, laptops and other electrical devices are different from your body's natural EMFs and can alter the natural frequencies or "bioelectrical signals" of the body.
This can lead to the damaging of tissues and cells, leading to health problems, unbalance and disease. There is now little doubt that EMFs affect everything from our immunity and stress levels, to sleep cycles, fertility, and even our very DNA.
Can EMFs Damage Sperm?
Apart from various physical, hormonal and environmental issues already contributing to declining fertility levels, one major culprit that cannot be ruled out is EMF radiation.
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."
Men are especially vulnerable to EMF exposure as their reproductive organs are on the surface of the body, unlike female reproductive organs which are better protected by layers of tissue.
Below, we'll look at research that shows that electromagnetic radiation not only adversely affects sperm count, but also sperm motility (movement), morphology (formation) and viability (survival rate).
Duration of daily exposure to cell phones is directly proportionate to sperm damage
A study of 361 men who were undergoing evaluation for infertility showed that "the decrease in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to cell phones."
So, the longer the exposure the more the damage. Participants 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 "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.
This study clearly shows that prolonged exposure to EMF frequencies, especially by keeping a cell phone in your trouser pocket for long hours (close to your privates) may affect your fertility in the long-term.
Exposure to a laptop connected to Wi-Fi decreases sperm motility and impacts fertility
Did you know your laptop can emit radiation as high as 100 milliGauss? That's as high as power lines which emit in the range of 10-70 milliGauss.
One study showed that sperm samples from healthy donors 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 concluded that "keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility."
Decreased motility could hamper the sperm's ability to swim to the egg, and DNA fragmentation may cause birth defects and may even result in miscarriage.
This study shows that using a laptop connected to Wi-Fi especially on one's lap is detrimental to fertility and can affect sperm from impregnating an egg.
Wi-Fi radiation lowers sperm motility and causes sperm death
A Japanese study showed the effects of prolonged exposure to waves from Wi-Fi devices on 3 sample groups:
- Group 1: samples had no exposure to EMF from a Wi-Fi router
- Group 2: samples were protected by a small shield that intercepted the waves
- Group 3: samples were fully exposed to Wi-Fi
Samples 2 and 3 were "placed near a pocket Wi-Fi router, in the way that a mobile phone would be carried in a man's trousers."
As exposure time increased from 30-60 minutes 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 again emphasizes that the longer the direct exposure to waves from Wi-Fi devices, the more the damage, and that keeping a smartphone anywhere near your personal parts may negatively impact your fertility.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) from mobile phones induces oxidative stress
Harmful byproducts of oxygen metabolism, free radicals, cause "oxidative stress" or significant damage to the cells and tissues in the body.
Oxidative stress not only damages cells and tissues, but also proteins, and DNA leading to early aging and is linked with serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, brain disorders and can even impact fertility.
A study showed that Male Wistar rats that were exposed to radio waves from an active GSM (0.9/1.8 GHz) connected mobile phone for 1 hour a day only for 28 days, "exhibited a significantly reduced percentage of motile sperm."
The "RF-EMR exposure resulted in a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and low GSH content in the testis and epididymis."
This study shows that even low-frequency RF cell phone exposure at just 1 hour a day in less than a month can adversely affect semen quality, cause oxidative stress, and impair male fertility.
Effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies (RF) EMFs on male fertility — a compilation of research
Titled Radiations and male fertility, this review is an amalgamation 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," and the effect they have on male fertility.
The review focuses on the history and sources of microwaves, and the effects of RF-EMF exposure on sperm count, motility, morphology, sperm cell cycle and apoptosis (death).
It also focuses on how RF-EMF exposure affects hormonal changes and can cause chromosomal and DNA damage, as well as induce oxidative stress and affect the reproductive endocrine system.
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."
Takeaways from the research
So what key takeaways can you conclude from the research above?
Below are a few we identified that are worth noting (and are downright scary)...
- Increased exposure to cell phones and Wi-Fi can increase fertility issues
- The closer the proximity of the source of the EMF, the more harm caused
- Effects can be seen even at low-level frequencies of EMF radiation
- EMF radiation not only causes low sperm count but also decreases sperm motility and causes sperm death
If this isn't scary enough...sperm count and quality can also be an indicator of your overall health.
As per this Harvard article, Danish research suggests that "semen quality" can be a great predictor of men's overall health. Semen analysis performed on over 50,000+ men revealed that as sperm count increased, mortality (death) rate decreased, and "men with the highest sperm counts enjoyed a mortality rate 43% lower than the men with the lowest counts."
What's important to take away from the above article is that EMF radiation does NOT only affect your fertility but affects your overall health and well-being.
Next, we'll cover EMF protection tips to help you best protect yourself.
EMF Protection Tips for Male Fertility
Since this post is about how EMF radiation affects male fertility, we're going to focus on tips specific to that.
However, we highly recommend you check out some of the other articles on EMF Protector to fully understand the dangers of EMF radiation, and what you can do to best protect yourself.
At the very least, we encourage you to read the posts below:
- 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
Now, let's move on to EMF protection tips for male fertility, most of which you can implement right away,
Don't carry your smartphone in your trouser pocket
If you've read up to this point, you know how damaging EMF radiation from your phone can be to your privates — especially in the long-term with prolonged exposure.
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."
So if you currently keep your cell phone in your pocket (whether you're using it for storage or while using a hands-free device) consider carrying it elsewhere, like in your backpack, office briefcase or your car when on the move. When at work or home, simply put your phone on the desk and not on you.
Don't follow SAR ratings
Now, you may think that if your phone falls under so-called "acceptable" SAR ratings, then it should be okay to carry on you, right?
Not really...the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of a phone is the measurement of the "rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field."
Studies have shown that even at low EMF levels (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), which are far below standard SAR exposure limits, "tumor-promoting effects" were seen in mice.
Standard phone SAR levels are way above this with phones like the iPhone 7 at 1.38 SAR, and the OnePlus 6T at 1.55 SAR.
Also, it is suggested that SAR limits are often exceeded by the way the phone is used today, and lab and field tests have shown that "SAR-limits can be exceeded even six fold" when these three conditions occur together:
a) the mobile phone is in a close proximity to the body (e.g. phone is in a pocket)
b) the mobile phone sends a data package (uplink), taking place always in the end of receiving data
c) the network connection is weak causing higher transmit power
So, even if your phone seemingly falls under SAR guidelines, it's NEVER safe to carry it in your pocket or anywhere on your body.
Put your phone on airplane mode
If you absolutely must carry your phone in your pocket, put it on airplane mode.
Putting it on airplane mode means that your phone won't connect to a nearby cell tower. It is also best to turn off WiFi, Bluetooth & Location Services as these can still be emitting even with your phone on airplane mode in your pocket.
Also, even if you are not carrying your phone in your pocket, putting your phone on airplane mode when you don't use your phone, and especially at night when you're sleeping, is a great way to reduce overall EMF exposure.
It's also a handy way to get more work done without distractions!
Use speakerphone not Bluetooth
When you can manage it, it's much better to talk on speakerphone than using Bluetooth, for more reasons than one.
First, Bluetooth uses RF signals that run on a 2.4GHz frequency to send and receive data. This is the same band used by your microwave oven and cordless phone and can have damaging effects biologically on your semen, neurologically, and also affect your very DNA.
Second, when you use a Bluetooth headset, it's more than likely that since you're going "hands-free" you'll be carrying your phone in your pocket.
So while you may think you're protecting your brain from EMF radiation, you leave your reproductive organs unprotected.
Steer clear of the hip area
So you might hold up your phone to your hip while texting or browsing, but it's better to keep your phone away from the general area of your hip as it's a bit too close for comfort to your precious parts.
Especially when you're riding the bus or subway, a few minutes can turn into hours of browsing.
So be mindful...and perhaps read a book, instead?
Wear anti-radiation underwear
To make sure your privates are protected in the best possible way from damaging EMFs, and if you're finding it hard to not carry your phone your pocket — you need to invest in some premium protection.
Anti-radiation underwear is made from a blend of silver strands woven into soft cotton, or similar material, and blocks close to 99% of EMF radiation, whether it is from your phone, laptop or Wi-Fi.
A well-designed pair looks and feels just like regular underwear — except it keeps out or "attenuates" all of the unwanted frequencies that you want nowhere near your personal parts.
Don't work with your laptop on your lap
Do NOT use a laptop on your lap. In the research above you already saw how bad it can be both in terms of thermal (heat) from the fan and EMF radiation from the power supply and electronics. Plus, once you connect your laptop to Wi-Fi, it gets even worse as you're exposed to RF waves.
Although the FCC recommends maintaining a distance of at least 20 cm between you and your laptop, one study finds that using a laptop "directly implies that it is to be placed on a lap which is not 20 cm distant from the user."
Also, you should try to not use your laptop when connected to an electrical outlet as there is a lot more EMF emitted when it's plugged in and charging. We tested this, and you can see it here.
So, to recap...do not use your laptop on your lap, however, if there are times where you do tend to use it that way, we highly recommend using Atmosure's RF blocking fabric to protect yourself.
Try to be less "smart"
Yes, that's right...using more "smart" devices simply means more EMF exposure that will not only harm your fertility but also affect your health in other ways such as causing sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, increased heart rate, stunted fetus development and more.
All smart devices have wireless antennas that are constantly pulsing UHF (Ultra High Frequency) microwave radiation.
So, if you're thinking of upgrading to the latest "smart" TV, refrigerator, washing machine or smart car, you might want to give it a second thought.
Invest in an EMF meter
You may not know which areas of your home or which appliances give out the highest electric and magnetic field readings, but an EMF meter removes the guesswork, and helps you locate areas in your home where you might need to make changes.
For example, you may discover an area of your bedroom has unusually high readings, only to discover there is a smart meter on the opposite wall. Or you may realize that your Wi-Fi router has a lot of spikes in readings, and may decide to switch to a low-EMF Wi-Fi router.
Whatever the case an EMF meter will push you to make necessary changes to keep you, your swimmers, and your family more protected. We recommend using the Acoustimeter AM-10 RF Meter Model, which can measure RF frequencies from 200 Mhz to 8 GHz.
Reduce EMF radiation around you
Minimizing EMF radiation by following some common-sense rules will help you stay better protected. A good rule of thumb to always remember is that the "strength of a magnetic field decreases dramatically with increasing distance from the source."
So, the further you are from your cell phone and laptop, or other electrical devices the better. This means keeping your Wi-Fi router away from your bedroom, not using a digital alarm clock, hard-wiring your internet, not using a baby monitor or cordless phone, and using an anti-radiation air-tube headset.
Discover many more tips you can incorporate starting today by reading this post.
- Did you know that 50% of the time, problems with male fertility are the cause for a couple failing to conceive?
- Men today are "half as fertile" as their grandfathers were 40 years ago
- Non-ionizing radiation such as those from cell phones, WiFi, laptops, and other devices can lower sperm count, decrease sperm motility, raise oxidative stress and cause DNA fragmentation leading to fertility issues in men
- Research has shown that sperm count and quality can also be an indicator of men's overall health
- It's highly advisable to not carry a smartphone in your trouser pocket, or work with a laptop on your lap
- Using faraday fabric can block up to 99% of damaging EMFs emitted from devices such as your laptop, smartphone, and Wi-Fi router