Background: Mobile phones emit radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic waves (EMWs), a low-level RF that can be absorbed by the human body and exert potential adverse effects on the brain, heart, endocrine system, and reproductive function. Owing to the novel findings of numerous studies published since 2012 regarding the effect of mobile phone use on sperm quality, we conducted a systematic review and updated meta-analysis to determine whether the exposure to RF-EMWs affects human sperm quality.
Methods: This study was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The outcome measures depicting sperm quality were motility, viability, and concentration, which are the most frequently used parameters in clinical settings to assess fertility.
Results: We evaluated 18 studies that included 4280 samples. Exposure to mobile phones is associated with reduced sperm motility, viability, and concentration. The decrease in sperm quality after RF-EMW exposure was not significant, even when the mobile phone usage increased. This finding was consistent across experimental in vitro and observational in vivo studies.
Discussion: Accumulated data from in vivo studies show that mobile phone usage is harmful to sperm quality. Additional studies are needed to determine the effect of the exposure to EMWs from new mobile phone models used in the present digital environment.
Keywords: Concentration; In vivo; Mobile phone; Motility; Radiofrequency; Sperm quality; Viability.
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