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ESSAY : Can Mobiles Make You Infertile?
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 04:28

Can Mobiles Make You Infertile?

Mobile phone is the most useful technology and most common electronic device being used for communication purpose by the people throughout the world. Earlier mobile phone was used only by the business elite being an expensive tool. But now the situation has entirely changed, mobiles are in everybody’s reach. In most countries, mobile phones outnumber land-line phones, with fixed landlines numbering 1.3 billion but mobile subscriptions more than 3.3 billion.

Since the introduction of mobile phones, concerns (both scientific and public) have been raised about the potential health impacts from its regular use. But by 2008, American m mobile phones transmitted and received more text messages than phone calls. The effect of mobile phone usage on health continues to be an area of public concern.

In a recent study the researchers have found a link between poor sperm and the number of hours a day than a man uses his mobile phone. It seems that those with the worst sperm counts and the poorest quality sperm spend more than four hours a day on a mobile phone. Professor Ashok Agarwal and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic Learner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, say the damage could be abused by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by handsets or the heat they generate.

The findings are a concern because they suggest millions of men may be putting their chances of becoming a father at risk by the widespread use of mobile phones. It is also of concern because sperm counts among British men have fallen by 29 percent over the past decade, which is usually blamed on increasing obesity, smoking, stress, pollution and ‘gender-bending’ chemicals which disrupt the hormone system. This latest study supports previous research which also indicated a link between mobile phone used a sperm quality, but is to date the biggest and best designed study. In a collaborative effort, researchers in Cleveland and New Orleans in the US, and doctors in Mumbai (India) examined data on more than 360 men undergoing checks at a fertility clinic who were classified into three groups according to their sperm count. The team found that men who used a mobile for more than four hours a day had a 25 percent lower sperm count than men who never used a mobile. These men also had poorer quality sperm, with swimming ability – a crucial factor in conception – down by a third. They also had a 50 percent drop in the number of properly formed sperm, with just one-fifth of normal appearance under a microscope.

Professor Ashok Agarwal, the study leader, says almost a billion people use cells phones around the world and the number is growing in many countries at a rate of 20 to 30 percent a year. He says mobiles could have a devastating effect on male fertility because they are so much part of life today. For the study 361 men were selected and divided into four groups. In those 40 men who never used a mobile, 107 men used mobiles for less than two hours a day, 100 men using them for two-four hours daily and 114 making calls for four or more hours a day. The most significant finding was than on four measures of sperm potency count, motility, viability and morphology (appearance), there were significant differences between the groups. The greater the use of mobile phones, the greater the reduction in each measure. Agarwal says man in the lowest group of sperm count would be below normal as defined by the World Health Organization. Professor Agarwal says it is likely than sperm-making cells in the testes were damaged by electromagnetic radiation or heat.

Mobiles may also increase temperature in the groin, if a man was wearing it on a belt or carrying it around in a pocket which would adversely affect the sperm. Local heating of the groin triggered by a mobile phone might also be involved in affecting sperm quality. “S[perm is very temperature sensitive as shown by many studies, and a short-term rise in temperature could be responsible” he added. However, Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in Andorlogy at the University Sheffield, said, “This is a good quality study but I don’t think it tackles the issue. If you’re using your phone for four hours a day, presumably it is out of your pocket for longer. That raises a big questions: how is it that testicular damage is supposed to occur?” He said mobile phone use may be a marker for other lifestyle factors known to affect sperms are quality. “May be people who use a phone for four hours a day spend more time sitting in cars, which could mean there is a heat issue. It could be they are more stressed or more sedentary sand sit about eating junk food getting fat. Those seem to be better explanations than a phone causing the damage at such a great distance”, he added.

No research has so far fully evidenced the loss of fertility due to use of mobile phone but the fact remains that longer used of mobile is dangerous and the emission of radiation is harmful to the health of the human being.