Chat on cell phone, become infertile?

More than four hours a day may lead to less viable sperm, researchers in Cleveland, New Orleans and Mumbai find.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read
Guys, you might want to put down those Razrs.

Cell phones have been linked to just about everything bad these days: tumors, eye cancer, an increased risk of car accidents and even flaming pants. And now you can likely add male-reproductive problems to that list.

Last year, a study by the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom found a possible connection between cell phone radiation and male infertility, and a new set of results presented this past Sunday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual meeting seems to enforce that link. An observational study conducted in Cleveland and New Orleans, as well as in the Indian city of Mumbai, has found that heavy cell phone use may contribute to a reduced sperm count and less viable sperm.

Between September 2004 and October 2005, a total of 364 males were evaluated by researchers from Cleveland Clinic, the Tulane University Health Sciences Center, and the Karthekeya Medical Research and Diagnostic Center in Mumbai. The study found that men who use their mobile devices for more than four hours per day were far more likely to have problems with sperm viability that could lead to infertility problems.

The researchers for the study stressed that more in-depth studies are needed to fully understand the fertility problems connected with cell phones. For example, the exact source of the problem needs to be pinpointed: It's unclear whether the reduced sperm count is more directly linked to cell phones' radiation or to their battery heat, which has been blamed for fertility problems related to laptop use.

But whatever the source of the problem is, men might want to think twice before chatting away for hours on their mobile phones and BlackBerrys.