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The findings, however, do not prove a link between cell phone use and semen quality, researcher Ashok Agarwal, PhD, said.
“This is still very preliminary and I would not want these findings misinterpreted as showing that cell phone use is a definite cause of decreased [male] fertility,” he said. “There are still many unanswered questions.”
Cell phones are not the only modern conveniences suspected of influencing sperm counts. At least one study has suggested that wearing disposable diapers as a baby can influence adult fertility, and another proposed a link between laptop use and sperm quality.
None of these suspected environmental influences, however, has been proven to influence male fertility, said Rebecca Sokol, MD, PhD, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology.
Her own research suggests a link between air pollution and declining sperm quality.
“I tell them what we know, which isn’t a lot,” she said. “We know that high (scrotal) temperature is bad for sperm, and we think that smoking, drinking, and marijuana use are probably bad. But we still have a lot to learn.”