Association between electronic device usage and sperm quality parameters in healthy men screened as potential sperm donors

Environ Pollut. 2022 Nov 1:312:120089. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120089. Epub 2022 Sep 1.


Cell phone use and radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMF) are rapidly increasing and may be associated with lower semen quality, yet results from epidemiological studies are inconclusive. Information on electronic devices use was collected through standard questionnaires from 1454 men aged 22-45 years old. Semen volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, total motility, progressive motility, and normal morphology in repeated specimens were determined by trained clinical technicians. Percent changes [95% confidence intervals (CIs)] were estimated as (10β-1) × 100 for electronic devices use associated with repeated sperm quality parameters in the linear mixed-effect models. After adjusting for multiple confounders, we found significant inverse associations of total duration of electronic devices use with sperm progressive motility and total motility, duration of cell phone and computer use with sperm concentration, progressive motility, and total motility (all P < 0.05). No significant association was found between cell phone/computer use alone and sperm quality parameters. Moreover, per hour increase of time spent on cell phone talking was associated with decreased sperm concentration and total count by an average of -8.0% (95% CI: -15.2%, -0.2%) and -12.7% (95% CI: -21.3%, -3.1%), respectively. Besides, daily calling time was associated with lower sperm progressive motility and total motility among those who used headsets during a call (P for interaction <0.05). In conclusion, our study suggested that more time spent on electronic devices use had a modest reduction effect on semen quality. Daily calling time was significantly associated with lower sperm concentration and total count, and using headsets during a call appeared to aggravate the negative association between daily calling time and sperm motility. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: Cell phone; Computer; Electronic devices; Repeated-measurement; Semen quality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electronics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Semen
  • Semen Analysis*
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility*
  • Spermatozoa
  • Young Adult