The next time your partner brings his Smartphone or tablet on the bed in the night – you just make him stop doing that as it not only kills the mood but it may cause huge harm to his sperms too. A recent study, shared at the Virtual SLEEP 2020 meeting, found a significant association between evening and late night exposure to light emitting digital devices and poor sperm quality. The effect of cell phone radiation on healthy male sperm parameters and fertility is the subject of recent interest and investigations.
According to WHO, the prevalence of infertility in the general population is 15 to 20% and male infertility factor contributes 20 to 40% to this rate. Moreover, the prevalence of male infertility in India is around 23%.
It has become the need of the hour to understand the causes behind this high rate of male infertility and then treating those underlying causes. As we already know that many lifestyle and environmental factors may be the main causes behind male infertility like smoking and alcohol consumption. But if recent studies are anything to go by, the use of electronic and digital media devices have a huge impact on male fertility too.
According to the study Smartphone and tablet use in the evening and after bedtime reduced sperm motility, sperm progressive motility and sperm concentration. The greater the exposure to the short-wavelength light (SWL) emitted from these devices, the higher the percentage of immotile sperm. Further, the study indicated that longer sleep duration is positively correlated with total sperm count and progressive motility.
Actually exposure to light emitted from digital devices like phones, laptops, tablets and even digital television systems can not only lead to sleep disturbances and it creates hindrances in sperm to swim properly and reach its destination and hence male infertility rates to shoot up.
Different colors of light also affects the overall fertility for example SWL’s usage in the evening or night which is on the blue end of the spectrum reduces the secretion of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that makes people feel sleepy and helps them stay asleep; as a result, exposure to the wrong forms of light in the evening can have a negative impact on sleep quality and quantity, for both men and women creating hindrances in fertility.
Unlimited use of smartphones, computers and wireless connections has not only made us fully dependent, but are also making us sick in one way or another. The radiation causes harm to the DNA of a person due to which cells start losing its ability to recover on its own. When these radiations reach the sperm and egg cells, it does not only hold back its growth but also becomes a reason for abortion too.
There’s no harm in using digital devices earlier in the evening, a few hours before bedtime. Until more research is done to tease out what’s happening to the sperm of men who use digital devices at night, try limiting their exposure and it’s best if you quit this habit and instead invest time in your respective partner.
On the other hand sleep is highly important for overall health, which should be recognized more and more where it can impact things like reproductive hormones. Men who work in night shifts sometimes face the significant disruption of hormones in that setting.
So, as per the recent research is therefore very clear on the facts that both the light emitted from digital devices, as well as the radiations emitted from digital and electronic devices, can affect male fertility negatively. Men who use or depend on these devices should, therefore use other means to counter the effects of these exposures with the consultation of healthcare professionals, in order to prevent infertility in future.
BY Dr. Shweta Goswami, Medical Director from Zeeva fertility Clinic and Sr. Consultant IVF from Jaypee Hospital Noida