With the near-universal use of smart phones and presence of WiFi, there has been an increased interest in research regarding unintended consequences of these technologies. One example of this is in the realm of male fertility. For example, a recent news article from the Daily Mail quoted multiple physicians and scientists in the UK expressing their concerns over the negative effects of new 5G networks on male fertility.

There is an unequivocally negative relationship between high dose radiation exposures and fertility. For instance, men undergoing radiation treatments for specific cancer types should be counseled regarding fertility preservation prior to therapy. That being said, the relationship between the radiation emitted by cell phones and WiFi networks and the male reproductive tract is less clear.

For example, the Daily Mail news article does correctly point out that there are over 20 studies that found a negative association between fertility and semen parameters and radiation. That being said, a large proportion of these studies were performed either in animals or in a laboratory setting, and not in live human subjects. In fact, a review paper published in 2014 compiled the existing studies on the subject at that time, and found that overall there was not an association between semen parameter derangements and cell phone/WiFi use.

Some peer-reviewed studies have found that that cell phone radiation may lead to decreased sperm counts and poorer quality sperm. Dr. Luke Machen, Round Rock based reproductive urologist of Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, concludes “In perhaps an abundance of caution, I do typically council patients struggling to conceive to keep their cell phones either in their shirt pockets or back pockets, as this may limit some of the radiation exposure to their testicles.”