A Chemical Pathologist, Prof. Ganiyu Arinola, has advised men against putting cellphone in their trouser pockets, saying it may cause male infertility. Arinola, who is the Head, Department of Chemical Pathology, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, gave the advice in an interview with Journalist.
According to him, public attention has been drawn to the issue of safety of radiations from laptops and putting cellphone in the pockets. “This calls for special focus, considering the fact that infertility has affected certain percentages of couples of reproductive age.
“It is worthy of note that nearly half of these percentages have been linked to male infertility. “Other factors include exposure to certain environmental pollutants, lifestyle, occupation and infections of the urinary genital tract which have been linked to male infertility. “Putting cellphone in the pockets or hang on a belt is recently proposed to be the cause of infertility, especially in the males,’’ he said. Arinola, who is also a senior lecturer of Immunology at the University of Ibadan, said that studies carried out, using various methodologies, linked cellphones radiation to male infertility.
According to him, opinions differ as to the possible mechanism by which cellphones radiation may produce these changes within the short-time of putting it in the male pockets. “Radiation from cellphones is said to affect sperm structure, mobility/movement, vitality or being alive for expected length of time. “But, it is known that millions of sperm cells are released during mating and only one sperm is needed to fertilise the female egg.
“The likelihood is that all the sperms may not be damaged at the same time, but within the short-time of putting cell-phones in the pocket. “Based on the health risks from cellphone radiation, it is advisable that simple precautionary safe method of handling cellphone should be practiced in order to protect health and fertility.
“Men should put their cell phones in the pockets of their shirts or suits, car safe, or hold it by hands, which are not in direct contact with testis sac. “This is a wake-up call to the men of reproductive age,’’ he said. Arinola also advised that cellphone users should be cautious of the duration of phone possession, frequency of daily use, length of use and where they are kept.
He said: “Human body, such as layers of the skin, bone and tissue offer protection from the direct radiation of cellphone. “Sperm damage was suggested to be the production of `toxic’ or reactive oxygen species by radiation from cellphones.” Arinola further explained that the reactive oxygen species were particularly harmful to living cells and proteinous substances, which according to him, our body sperm cells and supporting materials are made-up of.
“The production of oxygen species by cellphone radiation raises the possibility that cellphone radiation, as a result of careless placements and long term use, can contribute to sperm damage. “Based on the health risks from cellphone radiation, it is advisable that simple precautionary safe method of handling cellphone should be practiced in order to protect health and fertility.
A Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prof. Alexander Owolabi, had described infertility as major burden on clinical service delivery in Nigeria, leading to marital disharmony and physical violence against women. Owolabi, who is also an In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) expert with the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH)), Ile-Ife, said, “There is gender discrimination as to who among the couple is responsible for infertility.’’
While delivering the 306th Inaugural Lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun, said: “About 40 per cent of infertility is due to problems in the female, 40 per cent to problems in the male, and 15 per cent to combined male/female problems. “In five per cent, there is no recognisable cause,’’ he said. Owolabi said that the factors predispose to HIV such as greater marital instability and higher likelihood of extramarital sexual partners when a couple was frustrated by the inability to have a child. According to him, experiences from clinical practice in Nigeria indicate that infertility is a major burden on clinical service delivery in Nigeria.
He said several reports indicated that infertility was the most frequent reason for gynaecological consultation in Nigeria. Owolabi said: “As result of high premium place on child bearing, and since in this environment, childbearing is the sole purpose for marriage, infertility or childlessness is socially destabilising for couples. “Infertility carries several stigmas, causes marital disharmony, divorce, suicide, separation, remarriage, social ostracisation and physical violence against women, even when it is a male factor that is responsible. “These factors increase the chances of spreading HIV/AIDS.’’