Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study

Fertil Steril. 2009 Oct;92(4):1318-1325. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.022. Epub 2008 Sep 20.


Objective: To evaluate effects of cellular phone radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) during talk mode on unprocessed (neat) ejaculated human semen.

Design: Prospective pilot study.

Setting: Center for reproductive medicine laboratory in tertiary hospital setting.

Samples: Neat semen samples from normal healthy donors (n = 23) and infertile patients (n = 9).

Intervention(s): After liquefaction, neat semen samples were divided into two aliquots. One aliquot (experimental) from each patient was exposed to cellular phone radiation (in talk mode) for 1 h, and the second aliquot (unexposed) served as the control sample under identical conditions.

Main outcome measure(s): Evaluation of sperm parameters (motility, viability), reactive oxygen species (ROS), total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of semen, ROS-TAC score, and sperm DNA damage.

Result(s): Samples exposed to RF-EMW showed a significant decrease in sperm motility and viability, increase in ROS level, and decrease in ROS-TAC score. Levels of TAC and DNA damage showed no significant differences from the unexposed group.

Conclusion(s): Radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones may lead to oxidative stress in human semen. We speculate that keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Cell Phone*
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • Ejaculation / radiation effects
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Semen / radiation effects*
  • Semen Analysis


  • Reactive Oxygen Species