Like other unresolved health questions — such as whether yoga is good for you or whether fat makes you fat — mobile phones’ effect on fertility has been much studied.

Now, a study of some of these studies implies gentlemen who wish to become fathers may want to keep their mobiles away from the family jewels.

In “Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” researchers led by Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter looked at 10 different studies that examined almost 1,500 semen samples. The Exeter study will appear in the journal Environment International in September.

“There’s always a danger with something as widespread as mobile phone use you send everyone into a panic,” Mathews told The Washington Post. “We did this piece of research because we came across various papers that were none too clear.”

Mathews looked at sperm viability, concentration and motility, or movement. Her team found an association between exposure to cellphones and an 8 percent reduction in sperm motility as well as a 9 percent reduction in sperm viability. Phones did not affect sperm concentration.

How exactly might mobiles attack men’s nether regions? Cellphones emit RF-EMR radiation — in other words, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) like that found in power lines and radio frequency radiation (RF) like that found in wireless devices. Both can be absorbed by the body, to possible ill effect.

“Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified,” Mathews said. “This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility.”

Mathews said 40 percent of couples in the developed world have fertility issues, and there is a trend of falling sperm quality in industrialized nations. Those who wish to conceive may want to keep their phones elsewhere.

“I would certainly see no harm,” Mathews said. “Simply carrying your phone somewhere else doesn’t seem a too-difficult thing to do. You’re increasing your chances of a pregnancy.”

This won’t be the final word on mobiles and semen. As Mathews said, “Further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population.”

In the meantime, guys can consider the man-purse.

h/t Science Daily