Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Cell Phone Use May Be Bad For Your Sperm 120

imaginaryelf writes, "WebMD reports that researchers have found a link between hours of cell phone use and sperm quality. 'In a study led by researchers from The Cleveland Clinic, men who used their cell phones the most had poorer sperm quality than those who used them the least.' We Slashdotters know that correlation does not equal causation, so further research is needed to understand the link, but just in case, maybe men should cut back on the hours of cell phone use?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cell Phone Use May Be Bad For Your Sperm

Comments Filter:
  • by Hillgiant ( 916436 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:53PM (#16563390)
    Hey, what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chemisor ( 97276 )
      I am sure you already have an impressive amount, after decades of savings and all...
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:56PM (#16563446) Homepage Journal
    I'll just not let my sperm use the phone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
      Hell, I was thinking that storing my cell phone in my underwear was a lot cheaper than condoms or birth control pills.

      Keeps the boys warm, too.

    • by gusmao ( 712388 )
      Man, if your sperm is able to get out of there, use your cellphone, set up a date, come back and finally get that ovum fertilized, you sure as hell can name your first kid McGyver.
  • by aitikin ( 909209 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:56PM (#16563450)
    We'd need girlfriends/wives before it really mattered!
  • Just speculating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:59PM (#16563504) Homepage Journal
    Do you suppose it could have something to do with keeping your arm elevated for four hours per day holding up the phone? That's hardly healthy, and would certainly have circulatory impact.
    • Keep yours in your arm, do you? That must complicate matters when you have to signal in traffic.
      • Re:Just speculating (Score:4, Interesting)

        by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:16PM (#16563878) Homepage Journal
        My point was this "study" was so incomplete as to be laughable. It was a questionaire, with people self-reporting phone habits. It could be anything from raised arms (which was a joke, virtually everyone who is on the phone 4+ hours per day has a handsfree setup) or that men who use the phone 4+ hours per day are statistically more likely to be 50-year-old travelling salesmen who have had vasectomies.

        This story should have been placed in the category of "It's pathetic, laugh."

        • Re:Just speculating (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:10PM (#16565026) Homepage

          The data also comes from a fertility clinic. They took a group of patients and asked them about their cell phone use. What are the chances that there is a correlation between the people showing up having good jobs? I'm guessing if you can afford to go to a fertility clinic, you're probably not poor. If you're not poor, you have job responsibilities. If you have job responsibilities, you may have a phone for it. And if the phone gives you stress.. then the phone is indirectly causing your problem.

          Is it something that correlates like that? Is it keeping your cellphone in your pocket? Is it just the fact that EVERYONE is using phones more and more theses days (and counts are dropping)?

          While interesting, this study is nothing but a "Isn't this weird? We should test this more."

          • What's the chance of having an unusually high percentage of males at a fertility clinic with poor sperm quality? Couldn't have seen that one coming. (Sorry, I didn't really mean it like that...)
        • Maybe having a hands-free setup and having the transmitter by the "package" is a problem. Sperm are sensitive to temprature. Too high and they kick off.

          This still merits more investigation. The first step in infertility treatment is to check the man and his sperm. Self-reporting on habits is reasonable.

          • by rhfixer ( 920651 )
            Sperm are sensitive to temprature. Too high and they kick off.

            Wait... How do people who live in hot places reproduce? By mitotical process?

            Temperature can be one of the answers. It's known that professional drivers have problems with sperm... It's also known that people who use +4 hours their cellphones travell a lot and most of them are stressed to. I think it's not only the cellphone, but a combination of problems that degrade the sperm quality.
    • by da007 ( 242994 )

      It may also have something to do with keeping in in your pocket next to your genitals all day too.
    • by cev ( 572524 )
      As an incidental result, I have IR imagery showing that your hand increases temperature by almost 0.5C if you hold it still for about two minutes. And yet, the authors conclude that your cell phone is increasing the temperature of your sperm significantly? Idiodcy!

      Let's do a simple analysis:
      Cell phone draws ~300 mA while in use. For conservative reasons, assume that this power is all RF. The battery is 3.6 V, so a total of 1W is being released by the phone. Since the antenna is nondirectional, the intensity
      • by plover ( 150551 ) *
        Well, you didn't post your assumptions, and I figured the guy might have been wearing a Bluetooth headset with the transmitter hanging on his belt. So I did the math, too.

        I put the phone on his belt about 20cm from his pair of 30mm testes. (See, nip/tuck is good for some useful factoids -- Larry Hagman's character just had the oversized 40mm Magnum pair installed!) Those numbers yield a much more generous .0028 steradian target, for a total of 225 microwatts. That's almost four times your original 80 m

  • by Who235 ( 959706 ) <`secretagentx9' `at' `'> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:59PM (#16563524)
    I think the kind of jerk who is always on a cell phone is the kind of jerk with low quality sperm to begin with.

    My sperm are the size of M&M's and they have teeth and can't be killed by conventional weapons. Do I use a cell phone all day?

    Hell no. If I want someone to know something, I punch it in Morse code right on their forehead.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:59PM (#16563540)
    A lack of quality sperm causes high cell phone usage!
    • A lack of quality sperm causes high cell phone usage!
      Makes perfect sense to me. My daughter has no high-quality sperm (I hope -- and if she does, she didn't produce it and I don't want to know about it), and she's on the cell phone constantly.

      Just kidding. I don't have a daughter, I've been using my cell hpone too much for that to happen.
  • by spoonboy42 ( 146048 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:00PM (#16563556)
    Who needs a condom, I've always got my T610 in my jeans' pocket.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) * on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:01PM (#16563560) Homepage
    I'm just afraid that teenage boys will read this and try using their cell phone as a contraceptive device. "Come on, babe, it's safe... you know I'm on the cell at least an hour a day..."
    • Not to mention that "low quality" could very well mean sperm with damaged DNA, but still alive and mobile. That's worse than having no sperm at all, IMO.

    • I'm just afraid that teenage boys will read this and try using their cell phone as a contraceptive device.
      Bad, bad visual.

      Though the vibrate setting may make up for the awkwardness.
  • *spits out white russian* Increases! Let me tell you a little something about The Dude. ++ for the movie reference above. I have a conflict of interest you see, as I'm not a phone person.
  • considering I keep my cellphone in my pants pocket most of the time.

    oh well
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:05PM (#16563654)
    it still tastes the same
  • I'd prefer not to have some snot-nosed crying kid taking away form my /. time... ;)
  • That's great. I'm going to have to purchase more minutes. I might even try to find a pair of pants with a cellphone pocket in the front.

    I've really got to get a hottub soon, too. I've wanted one of my own ever since the first time I got in one, but what REALLY sealed the deal for me was the fact that prolonged exposure to heat kills sperm. No wonder hottubs are an indispensable portion of the Californian lifestyle; if you're going to have a ton of hot sex, it's a good idea to be infertile.

    • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )
      "I might even try to find a pair of pants with a cellphone pocket in the front."

      Is that a phone or are you just happy to see me?
  • For the better (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bdigit ( 132070 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:06PM (#16563684)
    Perhaps some of those people who are on their cellphone 8 hours a day should not be reproducing anyway
    • I was hoping for a more immediate process. At least the driving while cell-phoning statistics give me hope that Darwin's work will be somewhat effective during my lifetime. The other hope (microwave radiation causing brain cancer) seems to be pretty iffy based on current research.

      Meanwhile work on an EMP weapon that causes operating cell phones to explode continues apace.

      Bwahahahahaha from deep inside the volcano lab is heard.....
    • Perhaps some of those people who are on their cellphone 8 hours a day should not be reproducing anyway

      I've only seen a few of these types of men, usually with a bluetooth headset, and they've tended to be, well, more towards the girly side of the bell curve.

      There may be a gruff, burly man who likes to chat on the phone but I haven't met him.

      Just from observation, hormone levels are more likely to be causative here that non-ionizing RF.
  • If your use of the cell phone is affecting your sperm count, perhaps you're using it wrong.

    Hmm, I wonder if it's actually using the cell phone that's the problem, or the fact that I carry the phone around in my pants pocket. I suppose I'm sending my little swimmers micro-doses of microwave radiation. Or perhaps it's that more use means more ringing, which causes more radiation while still in the pocket. Personally, I suspect that those heavy cell phone users already had low sperm counts.

    I wonder if in addit
  • by McGregorMortis ( 536146 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:08PM (#16563720)
    Bender: "What should we point it at first?"
    Fry: "I dunno. Try it on me!" *zap* "Ow! My sperm!"
    Bender: "Wow! Neat! Mind if I try that again?" *zap*
    Fry: "Huh, didn't hurt that time."
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:09PM (#16563736) Homepage Journal
    I know it'll be bad for the one obnoxious cellphone dude who takes the same bus as me, since I'm just three more 50 Cent ringtones away from kicking him sqare in the junk.
  • Damnit! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Karganeth ( 1017580 )
    I knew I shouldn't have let my sperm use cellphones... :(
  • Let's think about this for a minute. If a man is on his cell phone for hours per day, who exactly is he talking to? It's probably, uh, his girlfriend/wife.
  • And I just got my vasectomy. *Now* I learn the cheaper/less painful way.
    • Depending on the type of vasectomy, you might want to check up on whether it has worked as it ought. Some types are prone to failure.
  • When I first got my cell phone, I would notice periodically that monitors would flicker, radios shout static, and lights would sometimes dim. I soon tracked this behavior to whenever my phone would check for new emails, update its clock, or right before an incoming call. Thinking of this electronic phenomenon and the fact the phone was cozily hugging my nuts in my front jeans pocket, I bought a little phone holster and set it on my hip. Do you think I'm being paranoid?
    • My monitor dosen't do that, but my speakers and subwoofer all go "hssssh tk tk tk tk" when a call's incoming and "tick tktktktktktk tick tktkhssssh tick" while a call's being made. I carry my phone in my backpack, a good two feet away from my nuts. So, no, you're not paranoid.
  • The article is very quick to point out that just because a correlation was shown does not mean a causation was proven. One example is that a person on a cell four hours a day could also be very sedentary, which could also lead to low sperm count and/or low sperm mobility. So props to the BBC for publishing an article not all breathless and hysterical.


  • From TFA (emphasis mine):

    There just might be a connection between a suspected decline in male fertility and increased cell phone use, but experts say much more research is needed to confirm an association.
    So, there might be a connection? A suspected decline? They don't even know if the decline is real? This is an article about nothing.
  • I'm pretty sure the thousands of hours I have in the data center and at the radio station inside their respective effective faraday cages have had much, much more effect on my little guys' triathalon abilities than using my cell phone has.

    Nothing will fry your junk better than having huge EMF-emitting devices surrounding your crotchal region for eight hours a day, six days a week.
    • Don't be so sure. The frequency of the photons matters a lot. That's why a bright day's sunlight turned into X or gamma rays will kill you dead.

      It would be strange indeed if FM radio waves, which have a very low energy per photon, could do any serious harm to a body. Little in our body resembles an antenna big enough to download them. Cell phone waves are much higher frequency, of course, but exposure to them is still nothing like our daily exposure to visible, IR, UV, radio and every other photonimal i
      • by Fonce ( 635723 )
        While I won't argue with the fact that FM waves do, in fact, have a much lower energy quotient per photon, I'm sitting very close to a transmitter. In fact, if I lean my chair back, I can touch the transmitter. Turning the lights off in this particular room does little good, as the energy from the transmitter will keep them lit. It's not quite as bright, but they're still probably at 75% brightness with the switch off.

        You'll be hard pressed to convince me that sitting in here almost 50 hours a week isn'
        • Well...first of all, if your physiology is well-adapted to the radio waves from the Sun, why would the radio waves coming from the transmitter matter? Same photons, right? The Sun has generated plenty of radio all its life -- if we turn the receiver to a "blank" spot on the spectrum and turn the squelch off we can easily hear old Sol crackling and sputtering away in the radio spectrum.

          Secondly, one of the weirdnesses about quantum mechanics and chemistry that may be tripping us up here is this: photons ha
  • "Do I look all rancid and clotted? You look at me, Jack. Eh? Look, eh? And I talk a lot on the cell phone. I'm what you might call a cell phone man, Jack - that's what I am. And I can swear to you, my boy, swear to you, that there's nothing wrong with my bodily fluids. Not a thing, Jackie."

    -- With apologies to Lionel Mandrake
  • Theres enough people walking about the place already - crank the power up and fry a few adults, never mind their sperm I say! Why is it that the human race is intent on messing the place up by over breeding and screwing up the planet with waste. Six billion ought to be enough of anything, even Natalie Portmans with hot grits, well maybe six billion of those would be ok. Its just not good enough blaming it on someone else, "God made me do it" is not an excuse and "I did it to get housing benefit" is just ins
  • Cell Phone Use May Be Bad For Your Sperm
    Espescially when you end up T-boning an 18-wheeler cause you couldn't stop calling Pairs Hilton's Voice Mail.
  • by Anti_Climax ( 447121 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:36PM (#16564342)
    That's fine, I wasn't using it anyway.
  • would that be a bad thing? My wife never needs to know I said that. ^_^ (and that was a rhetorical question)
  • Is that a treo in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    Yeah, it's a treo. Condoms are expensive.
  • Cell phones: the new birth control!
  • So um... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Arceliar ( 895609 )
    ..would this make it a bad idea to dial the phone with your testicles?
  • President and Founder, right here. Vasectomy - the gift that keeps on giving.
  • ...I am willing to assume that correlation equals causation. It is now proven: Men with low sperm-quality talk more on the phone than men with good sperm-quality. Women (who doesn't even have sperm), talk even more!
  • Given the number of people on this planet and the resource drain we cause, is this a bad thing?
  • This brings new meaning to the phrase "cum hoc ergo propter hoc."
  • How many old people do you see with cell phones?

    Now you know why they call it generational warfare.
    You've all fallen into our clever plan.
  • ... after 4 kids :) 2 of which were conceived whilst on the waiting list for 'the snip'. There's no such thing as an emergency vasectomy apparently.

    Still... you've got to wonder what kind of kinky phone sex would be involved to actually have radiation reach the testes in any quantity. "My penis would like a word with you... i'll put him on".
  • []

    Don't miss the "vestigal dong" story this kicked off...
  • by jrvz ( 734655 ) *
    I didn't see anything about controlling for age. I would expect age to be correlated with wealth, and cellphone time, and fertility problems.
  • It seems like someone does a study that supports conclusion A, and then everyone says, "But we really need more studies to be sure." So then more studies come out, and now one supports B, but everyone follows it up with, "But we really need more studies to be sure."

    Contrary to what people seem to think, we actually have an excellent understanding of electromagnetic radiation and its effects on biological tissue. This knowledge is the foundation of things such as the microwave oven and X-ray and MRI imagin
  • So the people who use their cellphones all the time will be unable, or at least less likely, to reproduce?


    Natural selection is alive and well, it seems :)
  • Nevermind I'll let you talk to him yourself....

    Maybe it's not such a good idea after all.

    May I take a message?

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"