Many studies have been conducted on the effects of exposure to RF-EMR on fertility and pregnancy outcomes in both human and non-human test subjects. While much of this research suggests a negative association between exposure to RF-EMR and fertility, due to variation in experimental methods and inconsistent results, global agencies have yet to come to a conclusion on how much of a risk RF-EMR exposure poses to reproductive health in humans .
A 2014 meta-analysis of 10 studies and nearly 1500 male subjects concludes that cell phones do have a negative impact on sperm quality. More specifically, exposure to the RF-EMR from cellular devices caused a reduction in sperm motility and viability, however no effect on sperm concentration was observed. The study populations were taken from fertility clinics, suggesting that future research should include more subjects from the general population for better understanding of the implications on public health.
A 2018 review published in the journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology also concludes that RF-EMR exposure has a negative effect on sperm quality. The review focuses on common sources of RF-EMR such as cell phone, laptops, Wi-Fi, and microwaves. The studies reviewed provide evidence that these sources of RF-EMR cause harm or damage to the testes, which can lead to decreased sperm count and motility, as well as DNA damage. In addition, RF-EMR can disrupt hormonal, protein and antioxidative enzymes. The researchers suggest that these effects may be a cause of infertility due to the oxidative stress prompted by exposure. In their conclusion, they highlight that antioxidants may address symptoms of suboptimal fertility, but that further research needs to be done on the effect of RF-EMR on the entirety of the male reproductive system to understand the root causes of infertility.
Another 2018 Review Article from the Journal of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity discusses the effects of EMF on both male and female fertility. This group of researchers also concludes that exposure to EMFs from our everyday devices has detrimental effects on sperm quality. In both male and female reproductive systems, they again point to the reaction to oxidative stress caused by EMF exposure as a source of reproductive issues. This review again emphasizes the need for more studies, specifically on the mechanisms by which exposure to EMFs affects reproductive health. They note that only poorly conducted research has been done on the effects of simultaneous exposure to EMFs and other environmental toxins on reproductive cells.
More recently, a 2022 study from the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami found that when sperm is exposed to the WiFi functions of cellular devices both motility and viability are negatively impacted. This in vitro study was conducted on men aged 25-35 years old while using a smartphone. The negative result were observed while making a call using WhatsApp while using WiFi capabilities for the data transmission. As most researchers in this area conclude, more studies are needed, as both the type and capabilities of the devices, and our individualized use of them have large variability.
Overall, suboptimal fertility and infertility are global health issues, and it is important to understand how our technology and RF-EMR are related to this problem. In the last three years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has commissioned new systematic reviews and meta-analyses to further synthesize the results from the vast amount of research around this topic. We hope the results will provide conclusive evidence that can better inform world leaders and the general public on the impact RF-EMR has on fertility and reproduction. In the meantime, it is important to protect ourselves as the rate of exposure increases with a lack of research surrounding potentially negative effects.