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Smartphone in pocket? Might not be a smart move if you are a man. Here's why

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Men who have their cell phones in their pockets may have damaged sperm, reducing their chances of having children.

University of Exeter scientists said that their findings suggest that radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation exposure from cellular phones negatively affects the quality of sperm but further investigation is still needed.

Fiona Mathews and her team studied 10 various studies that observed 1,500 semen samples. They analyzed the findings and came up with a conclusion as to how mobile phone exposure affects male fertility. Based on their findings, men who were not exposed to cellular phones had 50 to 80 percent of their sperm normally move towards an egg. Those who were exposed to mobile phones had normally moving sperms at an average of eight percent lower than that rate. The effects were the same with regard to sperm viability which is the proportion of active sperm.

Most adults around the world already own mobile phones and about 14 percent of couples in both developed and middle income countries have fertility issues. There is a falling trend in sperm quality in industrialized countries.

Because of the proliferation of mobile phones, the team wants to clarify its potential role in the environment. The study suggests that carrying cell phones in their pants pockets may affect sperm quality negatively and it could be important to men who are borderline infertile. Full clinical implications for the general populace must be determined. However, a sperm expert remains unconvinced and believes the evidence was still wanting.

"There has been concern for some time about whether keeping a mobile phone in a trouser pocket might affect semen quality and male fertility in some way," Dr. Allan Pacey of Sheffield University said. "There have been some crazy and alarming headlines, but, in my opinion, the studies undertaken to date have been somewhat limited in scope because they have either irradiated sperm kept in a dish or they have made assessments of men's phone habits without adequately controlling for confounding variables, such as other aspects of their lifestyle. What we need are some properly designed epidemiological studies where mobile phone use is considered alongside other lifestyle habits."

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