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|Lack of offspring is a phenomenon concerning 15% of married couples in Poland|
|Poland||Created: 30 Sep 2007|
The problem of the lack of offspring is a phenomenon concerning approximately 15% of married couples in Poland.
Infertility is defined as inability to conceive after a year of sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives.
In half of the cases the causative factor is the male.
Males are exposed to the effect of various environmental factors which may decrease their reproductive capabilities [3, 13]. A decrease in male fertility is a phenomenon which occurs over the years [2, 8, 14]. This may suggest that one of the reasons for the decrease in semen parameters is the
effect of the development of techniques in the surrounding environment. A hazardous effect on male fertility may be manifested by a decrease in the amount of sperm cells, disorders in their motility, as well as structure. The causative agents may be chemical substances, ionizing radiation, stress, as well as electromagnetic waves [3, 12, 13]. Recent years have seen a very rapid development in cellular telecommunications based on the emission of electromagnetic waves, the effect of which on human health has not yet been fully confi rmed.
The effect of electromagnetic waves on living organisms depends on the wave frequency and intensity. The hazardous effect of radio waves of high frequency (0.3-300 GHz) is associated with an increase in body temperature . The waves emitted by mobile phones are of an at least 10-fold
lower frequency (0.1-30 MHz). These waves may exert an EVALUATION OF THE EFFECT OF USING MOBILE PHONES ON MALE FERTILITY
Artur Wdowiak1, Leszek Wdowiak2, 3, Henryk Wiktor1 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Obstetric-Gynaecological Nursing, Medical University of Lublin, Poland 2Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland 3Chair and Institute of Health Protection Management and Economics, Medical University of Lublin, Poland Wdowiak A, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H: Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility. Ann Agric Environ Med 2007, 14, 169-172.
Abstract: The problem of the lack of offspring is a phenomenon concerning approximately 15% of married couples in Poland. Infertility is defi ned as inability to conceive after a year of sexual intercourses without the use of contraceptives. In half of the cases the causative factor is the male. Males are exposed to the effect of various environmental factors, which may decrease their reproductive capabilities. A decrease in male fertility is a phenomenon which occurs within years, which may suggest that one of the reasons for the decrease in semen parameters is the effect of the development of techniques in the surrounding environment. A hazardous effect on male fertility may be manifested by a decrease in the amount of sperm cells, disorders in their mobility, as well as structure. The causative agents may be chemical substances, ionizing radiation, stress, as well as electromagnetic
waves. The objective of the study was the determination of the effect of the usage of cellular phones on the fertility of males subjected to marital infertility therapy.
The following groups were selected from among 304 males covered by the study: Group A: 99 patients who did not use mobile phones, Group B: 157 males who have used GSM equipment sporadically for the period of 1-2 years, and Group C: 48 people who have been regularly using mobile phone for more than 2 years. In the analysis of the effect of GSM equipment on the semen it was noted that an increase in the percentage of sperm
cells of abnormal morphology is associated with the duration of exposure to the waves emitted by the GSM phone. It was also confi rmed that a decrease in the percentage of sperm cells in vital progressing motility in the semen is correlated with the frequency of using mobile phones.
Address for correspondence: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical University of Lublin, 20-950 Lublin, Jaczewskiego 5. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Agric Environ Med 2007, 14, 169-172
170 Wdowiak A, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H: effect on the state of polarisation of the cellular membranes in the human body. An adequate polarisation of cellular
membranes is responsible for the process of spermatogenesis, and for the properties of a sperm cell enabling its penetration into the egg cell.
Due to a large amount of potentially hazardous factors, it is diffi cult to isolate one individually in order to examine its effect on the male sperm.
Today, studies of the effect of mobile telephones on the human body are especially justifi ed, and may allow the development of possible prophylactic activities leading to the limitation of potentially hazardous infl uence of cellular phones on the human body.
The objective of the study was determination of the effect of the usage of cellular phones on the fertility of males undergoing marital infertility therapy.
The studies were conducted during the period June 2004 May 2006 among patients treated in two outpatient departments in Lublin due to marital infertility. The research method was a questionnaire form, while the technique a diagnostic survey. Simultaneously, respondents sperm
was subject to examination according to the WHO standards , adopting the following standard parameters of ejaculation:
Volume 2.0 ml or more; Concentration 20 mln sperm cells/ml or more;
Mobility 50% or over progressive, (i.e. type A and B) and more type A;
Type A rapid, rectilinear, progressive motility;
Type B slow, poorly linear, non-linear motility;
Morphology 30% or more, with normal morphology.
Sexual abstinence prior to the sampling of semen was 2-7 days. Sperm was obtained by the method of masturbation in a selected room near the laboratory. Males with the symptoms of systemic diseases were excluded from the study group, as well as patients with clinically confi rmed
features of an infl ammatory state of the reproductive organ.
In addition, from the study group were eliminated males with body mass disturbances, the exponent of which was a BMI index below 17 or over 30, as well as patients with hormonal, pre- and post-natal development disorders in the region of male reproductive organs. Patients with the presence of clinically examinable varices of the spermatic cord, which may affect the quality and concentration of the sperm within the period of 3 months prior to the survey, were not qualifi ed for the study.
The survey consisted of questions concerning the place of residence (division: rural area, town with a population of up 50,000; a large city with a population of over 50,000), age, loading with smoking habit (division into groups: Group A non-smokers, Group B regular smokers up to
20 cigarettes daily, and C those smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day), occupation performed, and usage of mobile phone. The results obtained were subjected to statistical analysis by means of chi-square test for independence, adopting the level of signifi cance of 0.05. The statistical
package SPSS for Windows was used. The results were analysed from the aspect of relationship between the usage of the phone and semen parameters.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The following groups were selected from among 304 males covered by the study: Group A: 99 patients who did not use mobile telephones, Group B: 157 males who have used GSM equipment sporadically for the period of 1-2 years, and Group C: 48 people who have been regularly using mobile phones for more than 2 years.
Groups A, B and C were compared from the aspect of load of cigarette smoking habit. No signifi cant differences were observed in the frequency of occurrence of cigarette smoking habit (χ2=1.46, p>0.05). The statistical analysis also did not show any signifi cant differences between the
control group and the study group with respect to the following parameters: respondents age (χ2=1.48, p>0.05), place of residence (χ2=1.38, p>0.05), and the occupation performed (χ2=1.46, p>0.05). The results concerning the concentration of semen obtained from spermiograms were divided into the 5 following groups:
1 patients with azoospermy (lack of sperm cells in the ejaculate);
2 up to 3 mln/ml (severe oligozoospermy);
3 from 3-10 mln/ml (moderate oligozoospermy);
4 from 10-20 mln/ml (light oligozoospermy);
5 concentration of over 20 mln/ml satisfying the WHO standards.
Considering the percentage of sperm cells in type A live progressive motility of sperm cells, the results of the sperm test obtained were divided into
1 over 50% motility A + B in semen;
2 from 20-40% motility A + B in semen;
3 from 5-19% of motility A+B in semen;
4 below 5% of motility A+B in semen.
Based on the percentage of sperm cells of abnormal structure, the division was made into the following groups:
1 over 30% normal sperm cells;
2 from 20-30% of normal cells;
3 from 10-19% of normal cells;
4 from 3-9% normal sperm cells;
5 below 3% of normal sperm cells.
While evaluating the effect of the frequency of using GSM phones on the vitality of sperm cells it was observed that 65.7% of males not using this equipment have a normal spermiogram with respect to the parameters concerning the percentage of sperm cells in live vital and slow progresEvaluation
of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility 171 sive motility. It was noted that 35.4% of people frequently using the phones have results within the standard, while 51.6% of the remaining respondents are classifi ed into the group with normal vitality of semen. Slight disturbances in the mobility of sperm cells (20-40% motility A) occurred in Group A in 9.1% of respondents, in Group B in 17.2%, whereas in Group C these disturbances concerned 35.4% of patients (Tab. 1).
While investigating the relationships between the pathology of the semen and usage of GSM phones it was confi rmed that 55.6% of males not possessing phones have smen with the normal percentage of sperm cells with proper morphology, 23.2% of these patients have slightly elevated pathology of the semen, 7.1% have 10-19% normal structure cells, while 13.1% show a profound pathology of the semen. In the group of people who sporadically used phones, 27.4% of respondents did not show deviations from the standard with respect to the pathology of spermiograms, 35% had a slightly elevated amount of abnormal sperm cells, 15.3% of these males possessed from 10-19% of normal sperm cells, while in 15.3% the pathology
reached approximately 100%. In the group of people often using mobile phones, 16.7% possessed normal morphology of semen, 39.6% slightly decreased morphology, 8.3% had from 10-19% of normal sperm cells, whereas
total teratozoospermy occurred in 22.9% of respondents from this group (Tab. 2). While analysing the frequency of using mobile phones on the concentration of the sperm, no statistically significant differences were noted (χ2=1.48, p>0.05).
The evaluation of the effect of mobile telecommunications on the state of human health is a diffi cult issue, which results from the fact that there is a problem with isolating from various environmental factors the particular one that may be caused by electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phones. In addition, waves of the same frequency may be emitted by various other appliances. The effect of waves emitted by phones in association with other factors should also be considered. It may be presumed that people who intensively use phones more often perform sedentary work. This is conducive for the elevation of temperature in the region of the scrotum, and infertility. People who talk on the phone, to a greater degree may be exposed to stress,
which by affecting the level of cortisol, prolactine and testosterone may contribute to the decrease in the concentration of the semen .
Males who are very acti
inadequate nutrition (e.g. pesticides, the effect of which on
male fertility has not been proved), frequent contact with
motorization (hazardous effect of contact with heavy metals),
or an individual contact with chemical substances in
association with performance of an individual occupation
While investigating the effect of mobile phones on the
parameters of semen, Erogul obtained results similar to
those in the presented study . Analogous conclusions
Table 1. Relationship between frequency of using mobile phones and mobility of sperm cells in semen; χ2=23.2, p<0.001.
over 50% motility
A + B in semen
from 20-40% motility
A+B in semen
from 5-19% motility
A+B in semen
below 5% motility
A+B in semen
N % N % N % N % N %
Patients without mobile
65 65.7 9 9.1 14 14.1 11 11.1 99 100
81 51.6 27 17.2 30 19.1 19 12.1 157 100
17 35.4 17 35.4 12 25.0 2 4.2 48 100
Total 163 53.6 53 17.4 56 18.4 32 10.5 304 100
Table 2. Relationship between frequency of using mobile phones and pathology of sperm cells structure; χ2=36.859, p<0.001.
normal sperm cells
normal sperm cells
normal sperm cells
normal sperm cells
normal sperm cells
N % N % N % N % N % N %
55 55.6 23 23.2 7 7.1 1 1.0 13 13.1 99 100
46 27.4 55 35.0 24 15.3 11 7.0 24 15.3 157 100
8 16.7 19 39.6 4 8.3 6 12.5 11 22.9 48 100
Total 106 34.9 97 31.6 35 11.5 18 5.9 48 15.8 304 100
172 Wdowiak A, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H
were also simultaneously drawn by Fejes  and Aitken
 in their studies concerning the mobility of sperm cells
and the use of GSM. Łopucki et al.  also obtained results
similar to the presented study.
Studies of the effect of electromagnetic waves on the human
body are also hindered in association with the ethical
aspects of these activities. In the case of studies conducted
on animals, the problem is of lesser importance, and additionally,
it is easier to isolate the effect of a hazardous factor
from among potentially hazardous factors. The results
of the studies conducted on animals, however, cannot be
directly referred to the human body.
In the studies by Dasdag carried out on rats, the effect
of waves emitted by GSM phones on the semen of these
animals was not observed . In the studies conducted
on chicken embryos, Grigorev  confi rmed an increase
in mortality in the study group subjected to the effect of
electromagnetic fi eld as emitted by mobile phones, compared
to the control group. Wierzchoś  arrived at similar
conclusions while studying rabbit embryos. Nakamura,
while investigating the infl uence of electromagnetic waves
on pregnancy in rats, also confi rmed their harmful effect
. It should be taken into consideration, however, that
the studies conducted on animals cannot be unequivocally
transferred to humans, which is also confi rmed by Derias
While analysing the scientifi c reports pertaining to electromagnetic
waves, it may be suspected that the use of mobile
phones can decrease male fertility, and the presented
results of studies require continuation within a longer time
span and on a larger group of males.
1. A decrease in the percentage of live sperm cells in a
vital, progressive motility in semen is correlated with the
frequency of usage of mobile phones.
2. An increase in the percentage of sperm cells with abnormal
morphology is associated with the duration of exposure
to the waves emitted by GSM equipment.
1. Aitken RJ, Bennetts LE, Sawyer D, Wiklendt AM, King BV: Impact
of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the
male germline. Int J Androl 2005, 28(3), 171-179.
2. Andersen AG, Jensen TK, Carlsen E, Jorgensen N, Andersson
AM, Krarup T, Keiding N, Skakkebaek NE: High frequency of sub-optimal
semen quality in an unselected population of young men. Hum Reprod
2000, 15(2), 366-372.
3. Claman P: Men at risk: occupation and male infertility. Fertil
Steril 2004, 81(Suppl 2), 19-26.
4. Dasdag S, Zulkuf Akdag M, Aksen F, Yilmaz F, Bashan M, Mutlu
Dasdag M, Salih Celik M: Whole body exposure of rats to microwaves
emitted from a cell phone does not affect the testes. Bioelectromagnetics.
2003, 24(3), 182-188.
5. Derias EM, Stefanis P, Drakeley A, Gazvani R, Lewis-Jones DI:
Growing concern over the safety of using mobile phones and male fertility.
Arch Androl 2006, 52(1), 9-14.
6. Erogul O, Oztas E, Yildirim I, Kir T, Aydur E, Komesli G, Irkilata
HC, Irmak MK, Peker AF: Effects of electromagnetic radiation from a
cellular phone on human sperm motility: an in vitro study. Arch Med Res
2006, 37(7), 840-843.
7. Fejes I, Zavaczki Z, Szollosi J, Koloszar S, Daru J, Kovacs L, Pal
A: Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality? Arch
Androl 2005, 51(5), 385-393.
8. Joffe M: Time trends in biological fertility in Britain. Lancet 2000,
9. Grigorev IuG: Biological effects of mobile phone electromagnetic
fi eld on chick embryo (risk assessment using the mortality rate). Radiats
Biol Radioecol 2003, 43(5), 541-543.
10. Łopucki M, Jakiel G, Bakalczuk S, Pietruszewski S, Kankofer
M, Bakalczuk G, Tkaczuk-Włach J, Kotarski J: Infl uence of alternating
magnetic fi eld with magnetic induction 0.5 mT and frequency 50 Hz on
human spermatozoas in vitro. Int J Androl 2005, 28(Suppl. 1), 106.
11. Nakamura H, Matsuzaki I, Hatta K, Nobukuni Y, Kambayashi Y,
Ogino K: Nonthermal effects of mobile-phone frequency microwaves on uteroplacental
functions in pregnant rats. Reprod Toxicol 2003, 17(3), 321-326.
12. Petrelli G, Mantovani A: Environmental risk factors and male fertility
and reproduction. Contraception 2002, 65(4), 297-300.
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of occupational exposures on male fertility: literature review. Ind Health
2003, 41(2), 55-62.
14. Swan SH, Elkin EP, Fenster L: The question of declining sperm
density revisited: an analysis of 101 studies published 1934-1996. Environ
Health Perspect 2000, 108(10), 961-966.
15. Wierzchoś A: Wpływ pola elektrycznego na potencjał rozwojowy
zygot króliczych. III Krajowy Zjazd Towarzystwa Biologii Rozrodu. Międzyzdroje
4-7 IX 2002.
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Diagnosis and Management of the Infertile Male. Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge 2000.
ORIGINAL ARTICLES AAEM
|Source: Iris Atzmon|
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