Concerns are growing as more people use wireless devices and electronic gadgets, which leads to worries about infertility and miscarriages possibly being connected to these exposures.
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Infertility is becoming a bigger problem for young adults who want to have children. Almost 1 in 5 couples have trouble getting pregnant, and the number of miscarriages is going up by 1 percent (read below) each year.
EMFs and Reproductive Organ Damage
Signals from wireless devices and electronics can cause stress inside sensitive cells, potentially harming organs involved in making babies.
EMFs from these devices can hurt the parts of the body responsible for having babies, and research with animals supports this idea.
When female rats were exposed to EMFs all over their bodies, their ovaries got damaged. But this hasn’t been proven in humans.
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EMFs can stop eggs from being released and harm the eggs stored in the ovaries. Some types of EMFs can even affect the growth of egg-containing structures called follicles, which can make it harder to get pregnant.
EMF exposures have also been found to make animals take longer to have babies.
Mice exposed to radiation from mobile phones had damage to their testicles. A study in 2021 showed that male mice exposed to 4G phone signals grew irregular layers of cells in their reproductive organs. The study said that 4G radiation might hurt the animals’ kidneys and testes.
A review in Electronic Physician said that EMFs can reduce and kill sperm-producing cells in mice. Studies in the review also discovered that EMFs can break the DNA in cells that grow into embryos.
EMFs can directly impact the pineal gland, which controls hormones. This lowers melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep, reproduction, and sperm production.
Preventive medicine specialist Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet pointed out that there hasn’t been enough time to study the effects of the recent increase in radiofrequency EMFs on human reproductive organs, especially since the iPhone was only invented in 2007.
Dr. Vliet suggests using antioxidants like vitamins C, D, E, and melatonin to protect against EMF harm. Antioxidants fight against EMF-caused stress in cells and tissues.
Though we don’t have clear proof, these substances might help prevent damage from EMFs by reducing stress in cells and tissues.
EMFs Damage Sperm
Many studies, including those involving humans, have shown that EMF exposure can harm sperm.
Professor Geoffrey De Iuliis, who specializes in reproductive medicine at the University of Newcastle, explained that “sperm are uniquely susceptible to oxidation”.
Sperm cells are built for a single mission: to quickly swim and fertilize eggs. Because of this, they have limited space for the cytosol, a part of their inner structure. This makes it hard for antioxidants to counter the oxidative stress caused by EMFs.
Oxidation leads to problems like DNA damage and issues with sperm health and movement. The protective elements that usually guard sperm DNA are also limited.
Sperm have more easily oxidized polyunsaturated fat than stable saturated fat in their membranes to help them move smoothly.
Studies have linked using mobile phones more with a higher chance of male infertility.
Research by urologist Dr. Ashok Agrawal showed that men who used phones less often had healthier semen with more sperm, better movement, viability, and normal structure. On the other hand, using phones more, from zero to two to four hours, was linked to worse sperm health.
Lab studies where scientists exposed sperm to both ELF and radiofrequency EMFs revealed poorer sperm movement and DNA health. One study had human sperm exposed to 1 millitesla of ELF EMF for two hours. Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, a urologist and associate professor at the University of Miami, led the most recent study on Wi-Fi exposures. He found that sperm were sensitive to Wi-Fi EMF but not as much to 4G or 5G.
It’s not clear how these findings affect real life yet. Professor De Iuliis explained that despite recognition, it’s still not certain whether oxidation is the main reason for EMF damage.
He also pointed out that even a small rise in temperature, just a few degrees, can have similar effects on sperm cells, whether in animals or in the lab.
Regarding the link between EMF exposures and male infertility, Professor De Iuliis didn’t firmly attribute it to EMFs. He suggested that if there’s an effect, it might be subtle because infertility rates haven’t shifted significantly since mobile phones and wireless devices became common.
However, Devra Davis, an environmental health scientist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and founder of the Environmental Health Trust, supports the connection. She emphasized that findings from animal studies should be taken seriously, as we use animals to test all sorts of medicines.
“Every drug that we use today is tested out in animals. How could you reject studies of animals when it comes to predicting the environment?” she said.
For men who are concerned, Dr. Ramasamy suggested using devices less and staying away from wireless EMF sources like cellphones and radio towers. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting phones in pockets close to the testes.
EMF Exposures and Miscarriages
EMF exposure while pregnant is clearly connected to miscarriages, according to Kjell Hansson Mild, a radiation consultant at Umea University.
Studies on pregnant women working in offices have shown that the EMF from computer monitors can harm human reproduction, causing birth defects and miscarriages.
One famous study was done by Kaiser Permanente in California. They tracked over 900 pregnant women to see if there was a connection between non-ionizing EMF exposure and the risk of miscarriage.
Women who had more exposure to strong magnetic fields were almost three times more likely to have a miscarriage compared to those with less exposure.
The lead author, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente, stated in a press release that “due to the current lack of research on this subject, we don’t know the biological threshold beyond which problems may develop, and we also don’t yet understand the possible mechanisms for increased risks.”
A study in Iran in 2021 found that EMFs with a frequency higher than 50 Hz can raise the risk of miscarriage.
This connection between EMF exposure and miscarriage leads to questions about the safety of ultrasound exposure during pregnancy. Ultrasound also creates EMFs.
Research has shown that ultrasound might increase oxidation, but its negative effects on humans are still not clear.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated on its website, “Currently, there is no reliable evidence that ultrasound is harmful to a developing fetus. However, it is possible that effects could be identified in the future. For this reason, it is recommended that ultrasound exams be performed only for medical reasons by qualified health care providers.”
Meanwhile, reports emerge claiming that more than half of COVID miscarriages were caused by vaccines, as per VAERS data.
However, the risks of EMFs might not stop after babies are born.
In 2018, a study followed about 3,000 pregnant women and found that those who used phones regularly tended to have children with lower average cognitive scores. A study from Spain also connected mobile phone use to a higher chance of behavioral problems in children.
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