Effect of low-frequency electric field screening on motility of human sperm
More details
Hide details
University of Life Sciences, Poznan, Poland
University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
ADR Technology, Gdansk, Poland
Corresponding author
Malgorzata Kotwicka   

Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Rokietnicka 5d, 61-806, Poznań, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2020;27(3):427-434
The human body is constantly exposed to an extremely low electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF), in particular at 50 Hz, emitted by power lines, domestic distribution lines, electrical appliances, etc. It is assumed that the increase in electromagnetic exposure may cause adverse effects upon human health, as well as raising concerns regarding the impact on human fertility.

The aim of this in vitro study was to investigate the influence of ELF-EMF with a frequency of 50 Hz on the motility of human sperm. At the same time, the effectiveness of the dielectric screen constructed by ADR Technology ® in absorbing the emitted radiation was examined.

Material and methods:
Semen samples of 20 patients were exposed to the influence of an extremely low electromagnetic field. After 5, 15 and 30 min., spermatozoa motility was analysed using a computer-assisted spermatozoa motility analysis system. The following sperm motility parameters were examined: 1) velocity straight linear motility; 2) cross-beat frequency; 3) lateral head displacement; 4) homogeneity of progressive motility velocity.

It was found that the ELF-EMF presented a negative effect on the motility of human spermatozoa. A significant decrease in spermatozoa motility speed and a significant increase in lateral head deviation values were observed under the influence of the electromagnetic field. ELF-EMF did not show an effect on either lateral head displacement or homogeneity of progressive motility velocity.

A positive effect of the dielectric screen ADR Technology® was found. This effect compensated spermatozoa motility changes induced with ELF-EMF

Kim JH, Lee J-K, Kim H-G, Kim K-B, Kim HR. Possible Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure on Central Nerve System. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2019; 27: 265–275. doi:10.4062/biomolther.2018.152.
Kivrak E, Yurt K, Kaplan A, Alkan I, Altun G. Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system. J Microsc Ultrastruct. 2017; 5: 167. doi:10.1016/j.jmau.2017.07.003.
Wdowiak A, Mazurek PA, Wdowiak A, Bojar I. Effect of electromagnetic waves on human reproduction. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2017; 24: 13–18. doi:10.5604/12321966.1228394.
World Health Organization (WHO). Establishing a dialogue on risks from electromagnetic fields. Geneva; 2002.
World Health Organization (WHO). Extremely low frequency fields. 2007.
Draper G, Vincent T, Kroll ME, Swanson J. Childhood cancer in relation to distance from high voltage power lines in England and Wales: a case-control study. BMJ. 2005; 330: 1290. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7503.1290.
Blackman CF. Can EMF Exposure During Development Leave an Imprint Later in Life? Electromagn Biol Med. 2006; 25: 217–225. doi:10.1080/15368370601034086.
Hardell L, Sage C. Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards. Biomed Pharmacother. 2008; 62: 104–109. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2007.12.004.
Johansson O. Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields—A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment. Pathophysiology. 2009; 16: 157–177. doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.03.004.
Phillips JL, Singh NP, Lai H. Electromagnetic fields and DNA damage. Pathophysiology. 2009; 16: 79–88. doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2008.11.005.
Ruediger HW. Genotoxic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Pathophysiology. 2009; 16: 89–102. doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2008.11.004.
Milham S. Historical evidence that electrification caused the 20th century epidemic of “diseases of civilization.” Med Hypotheses. 2010; 74: 337–345. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.08.032.
Lai H, Singh NP. Magnetic-field-induced DNA strand breaks in brain cells of the rat. Environ Health Perspect. 2004; 112: 687. doi:10.1289/EHP.6355.
Wahab MA, Podd JV, Rapley BI, Rowland RE. Elevated sister chromatid exchange frequencies in dividing human peripheral blood lymphocytes exposed to 50 Hz magnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007; 28: 281–288. doi:10.1002/bem.20289.
Wolf FI, Torsello A, Tedesco B, Fasanella S, Boninsegna A, D’Ascenzo M, et al. 50-Hz extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields enhance cell proliferation and DNA damage: possible involvement of a redox mechanism. Biochim Biophys Acta – Mol Cell Res. 2005; 1743: 120–129. doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2004.09.005.
IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Non-ionizing radiation, Part 1: static and extremely low-frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog risks to humans. 2002; 80: 1–395.
Ahlbom A, Day N, Feychting M, Roman E, Skinner J, Dockerty J, et al. A pooled analysis of magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia. Br J Cancer. 2000; 83: 692–698. doi:10.1054/bjoc.2000.1376.
Greenland S, Sheppard AR, Kaune WT, Poole C, Kelsh MA. A pooled analysis of magnetic fields, wire codes, and childhood leukemia. Childhood Leukemia-EMF Study Group. Epidemiology. 2000; 11: 624–634.
Foliart DE, Pollock BH, Mezei G, Iriye R, Silva JM, Ebi KL, et al. Magnetic field exposure and long-term survival among children with leukaemia. Br J Cancer. 2006; 94: 161–164. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602916.
Fedrowitz M, Westermann J, Löscher W. Magnetic field exposure increases cell proliferation but does not affect melatonin levels in the mammary gland of female Sprague Dawley rats. Cancer Res. 2002; 62: 1356–63.
Kumlin T, Heikkinen P, Kosma V-M, Alhonen L, Jänne J, Juutilainen J. p53-independent apoptosis in UV-irradiated mouse skin: possible inhibition by 50 Hz magnetic fields. Radiat Environ Biophys. 2002; 41: 155–8.
Viel J-F, Cardis E, Moissonnier M, de Seze R, Hours M. Radiofrequency exposure in the French general population: Band, time, location and activity variability. Environ Int. 2009; 35: 1150–1154. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2009.07.007.
Li D-K, Yan B, Li Z, Gao E, Miao M, Gong D, et al. Exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of poor sperm quality. Reprod Toxicol. 2010; 29: 86–92. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2009.09.004.
Avendaño C, Mata A, Sanchez Sarmiento CA, Doncel GF. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertil Steril. 2012; 97: 39–45.e2. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.10.012.
Kesari KK, Kumar S, Nirala J, Siddiqui MH, Behari J. Biophysical Evaluation of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field Effects on Male Reproductive Pattern. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013; 65: 85–96. doi:10.1007/s12013-012-9414-6.
Nazıroğlu M, Yüksel M, Köse SA, Özkaya MO. Recent Reports of Wi-Fi and Mobile Phone-Induced Radiation on Oxidative Stress and Reproductive Signaling Pathways in Females and Males. J Membr Biol. 2013; 246: 869–875. doi:10.1007/s00232-013-9597-9.
McGill JJ, Agarwal A. The Impact of Cell Phone, Laptop Computer, and Microwave Oven Usage on Male Fertility. Male Infertility. New York, NY: Springer New York; 2014. pp. 161–177. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-1040-3_11.
Irvine S, Cawood E, Richardson D, MacDonald E, Aitken J. Evidence of deteriorating semen quality in the United Kingdom: birth cohort study in 577 men in Scotland over 11 years. BMJ. 1996; 312: 467–471. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7029.467.
Carlsen E, Swan SH, Petersen JH, Skakkebæk NE. Longitudinal changes in semen parameters in young Danish men from the Copenhagen area. Hum Reprod. 2005; 20: 942–949. doi:10.1093/humrep/deh704.
Shokri S, Soltani A, Kazemi M, Sardari D, Mofrad FB. Effects of Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz) Exposure on Apoptosis, Sperm Parameters and Testicular Histomorphometry in Rats: A Time Course Study. Cell J. 2015; 17: 322–31. doi:10.22074/CELLJ.2016.3740.
Belyaev I, Dean A, Eger H, Hubmann G, Jandrisovits R, Kern M, et al. EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses. Rev Environ Health. 2016; 31: 363–97. doi:10.1515/reveh-2016-0011.
Agarwal A, Singh A, Hamada A, Kesari K. Cell phones and male infertility: a review of recent innovations in technology and consequences. Int Braz J Urol. 2011; 37: 432–54. doi:10.1590/s1677-55382011000400002.
Kesari KK, Agarwal A, Henkel R. Radiations and male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018; 16: 118. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0431-1.
Santini SJ, Cordone V, Falone S, Mijit M, Tatone C, Amicarelli F, et al. Role of Mitochondria in the Oxidative Stress Induced by Electromagnetic Fields: Focus on Reproductive Systems. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018; 2018: 1–18. doi:10.1155/2018/5076271.
Erogul O, Oztas E, Yildirim I, Kir T, Aydur E, Komesli G, et al. Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation from a Cellular Phone on Human Sperm Motility: An In Vitro Study. Arch Med Res. 2006; 37: 840–843. doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2006.05.003.
Agarwal A, Desai NR, Makker K, Varghese A, Mouradi R, Sabanegh E, et al. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2009; 92: 1318–1325. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.022.
Yan J-G, Agresti M, Bruce T, Yan YH, Granlund A, Matloub HS. Effects of cellular phone emissions on sperm motility in rats. Fertil Steril. 2007; 88: 957–964. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.12.022.
Kesari KK, Behari J. Evidence for mobile phone radiation exposure effects on reproductive pattern of male rats: Role of ROS. Electromagn Biol Med. 2012; 31: 213–222. doi:10.3109/15368378.2012.700292.
Kilgallon SJ, Simmons LW. Image content influences men’s semen quality. Biol Lett. 2005; 1: 253–5. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0324.
Al-Bayyari N. The effect of cell phone usage on semen quality and fertility among Jordanian males. Middle East Fertil Soc J. 2017; 22: 178–182. doi:10.1016/J.MEFS.2017.03.006.
Wdowiak A, Mazurek P, Wdowiak A, Bojar I. Low frequency electromagnetic waves increase human sperm motility – A pilot study revealing the potent effect of 43 khz radiation. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2018; 31: 723–739. doi:10.13075/ijomeh.1896.01262.
Fejes I, Závaczki Z, Szöllősi J, Koloszár S, Daru J, Kovács L, et al. Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality? Arch Androl. 2005; 51: 385–393. doi:10.1080/014850190924520.
Kim Y-W, Kim H-S, Lee J-S, Kim Y-J, Lee S-K, Seo J-N, et al. Effects of 60 Hz 14 µT magnetic field on the apoptosis of testicular germ cell in mice. Bioelectromagnetics. 2009; 30: 66–72. doi:10.1002/bem.20448.
De Iuliis GN, Newey RJ, King B V, Aitken RJ. Mobile Phone Radiation Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production and DNA Damage in Human Spermatozoa In Vitro. Zhang B, editor. PLoS One. 2009; 4: e6446. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006446.
Kumar S, Nirala JP, Behari J, Paulraj R. Effect of electromagnetic irradiation produced by 3G mobile phone on male rat reproductive system in a simulated scenario. Indian J Exp Biol. 2014; 52: 890–7.
Meena R, Kumari K, Kumar J, Rajamani P, Verma HN, Kesari KK. Therapeutic approaches of melatonin in microwave radiations-induced oxidative stress-mediated toxicity on male fertility pattern of Wistar rats. Electromagn Biol Med. 2014; 33: 81–91. doi:10.3109/15368378.2013.781035.
Desai N, Sharma R, Makker K, Sabanegh E, Agarwal A. Physiologic and pathologic levels of reactive oxygen species in neat semen of infertile men. Fertil Steril. 2009; 92: 1626–1631. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.109.
Kesari KK, Behari J. Effects of microwave at 2.45 GHz radiations on reproductive system of male rats. Toxicol Environ Chem. 2010; 92: 1135–1147. doi:10.1080/02772240903233637.
Luzhna L, Kathiria P, Kovalchuk O. Micronuclei in genotoxicity assessment: from genetics to epigenetics and beyond. Front Genet. 2013; 4: 131. doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00131.
Lang S. Stoffwechselphysiologische Auswirkungen der Faradayschen Abschirmung und eines künstlichen luftelektrischen Feldes der Frequenz 10 Hz auf weiße Mäuse. Arch für Meteorol Geophys und Bioklimatologie Ser B. 1972; 20: 109–122. doi:10.1007/BF02243318.
Singh R, Nath R, Mathur AK, Sharma RS. Effect of radiofrequency radiation on reproductive health. Indian J Med Res. 2018; 148: S92–S99. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1056_18.
Ozlem Nisbet H, Nisbet C, Akar A, Cevik M, Onder Karayigit M. Effects of exposure to electromagnetic field (1.8/0.9GHz) on testicular function and structure in growing rats. Res Vet Sci. 2012;93: 1001–1005. doi:10.1016/j.rvsc.2011.10.023.
Çetkin M, Kızılkan N, Demirel C, Bozdağ Z, Erkılıç S, Erbağcı H. Quantitative changes in testicular structure and function in rat exposed to mobile phone radiation. Andrologia. 2017; 49: e12761. doi:10.1111/and.12761.
World Health Organization. WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen. 5th ed. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2010.
Wosiński S. The influence of the composition and manufacturing conditions of ceramic and polymer composites on the ability of shielding an alternating electric field. Poznan University of Technology. 2010.
Wosiński S. Solution for impregnation of materials shielding low-frequency electric field and the shielding material. WO/2010/093270, 2010.
Ashley JR. The safety of overhead power lines. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 1997; 16: 25–6, 28.
King RW. An examination of underlying physical principles. The interaction of power-line electromagnetic fields with the human body. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 1998; 17: 67–73; discussion 73–8.
Mailankot M, Kunnath AP, Jayalekshmi H, Koduru B, Valsalan R. Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) from GSM (0.9/1.8GHz) mobile phones induces oxidative stress and reduces sperm motility in rats. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2009; 64: 561–5. doi:10.1590/s1807-59322009000600011.
Gye MC, Park CJ. Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on the reproductive system. Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2012; 39: 1. doi:10.5653/cerm.2012.39.1.1.
Ghanbari M, Mortazavi SB, Khavanin A, Khazaei M. The Effects of Cell Phone Waves (900 MHz-GSM Band) on Sperm Parameters and Total Antioxidant Capacity in Rats. Int J Fertil Steril. 2013; 7: 21–8.
Gorpinchenko I, Nikitin O, Banyra O, Shulyak A. The influence of direct mobile phone radiation on sperm quality. Cent Eur J Urol. 2014; 67: 65–71. doi:10.5173/ceju.2014.01.art14.
Bernabò N, Tettamanti E, Pistilli MG, Nardinocchi D, Berardinelli P, Mattioli M, et al. Effects of 50Hz extremely low frequency magnetic field on the morphology and function of boar spermatozoa capacitated in vitro. Theriogenology. 2007; 67: 801–815. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2006.10.014.
Iorio R, Scrimaglio R, Rantucci E, Monache SD, Di Gaetano A, Finetti N, et al. A preliminary study of oscillating electromagnetic field effects on human spermatozoon motility. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007; 28: 72–75. doi:10.1002/bem.20278.
Iorio R, Delle Monache S, Bennato F, Di Bartolomeo C, Scrimaglio R, Cinque B, et al. Involvement of mitochondrial activity in mediating ELF-EMF stimulatory effect on human sperm motility. Bioelectromagnetics. 2011; 32: 15–27. doi:10.1002/bem.20602.
Hong R, Zhang Y, Liu Y, Weng E. Effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on DNA of testicular cells and sperm chromatin structure in mice. Chinese J Ind Hyg Occup Dis. 2005; 23: 414–7.
Al-Akhras M-A, Darmani H, Elbetieha A. Influence of 50 Hz magnetic field on sex hormones and other fertility parameters of adult male rats. Bioelectromagnetics. 2006; 27: 127–131. doi:10.1002/bem.20186.
Sun Y-L, Zhou W-J, Wu J-Q, Gao E-S. Does exposure to computers affect the routine parameters of semen quality? Asian J Androl. 2005; 7: 263–266. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7262.2005.00045.x.
Wdowiak A, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H. Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007; 14: 169–72.
Gutschi T, Mohamad Al-Ali B, Shamloul R, Pummer K, Trummer H. Impact of cell phone use on men’s semen parameters. Andrologia. 2011; 43: 312–316. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0272.2011.01075.x.
Falzone N, Huyser C, Becker P, Leszczynski D, Franken DR. The effect of pulsed 900-MHz GSM mobile phone radiation on the acrosome reaction, head morphometry and zona binding of human spermatozoa. Int J Androl. 2011; 34: 20–26. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2010.01054.x.
Otitoloju AA, Obe IA, Adewale OA, Otubanjo OA, Osunkalu VO. Preliminary Study on the Induction of Sperm Head Abnormalities in Mice, Mus musculus, Exposed to Radiofrequency Radiations from Global System for Mobile Communication Base Stations. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010; 84: 51–54. doi:10.1007/s00128-009-9894-2.
Gul A, Çelebi H, Uğraş S. The effects of microwave emitted by cellular phones on ovarian follicles in rats. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2009; 280: 729–733. doi:10.1007/s00404-009-0972-9.
Aitken RJ, Bennetts LE, Sawyer D, Wiklendt AM, King BV. Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline. Int J Androl. 2005; 28: 171–179. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00531.x.
Kumar S, Kesari KK, Behari J. The therapeutic effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on the reproductive patterns of male Wistar rats exposed to a 2.45-GHz microwave field. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011; 66: 1237–45. doi:10.1590/s1807-59322011000700020.
Atasoy HI, Gunal MY, Atasoy P, Elgun S, Bugdayci G. Immunohisto-pathologic demonstration of deleterious effects on growing rat testes of radiofrequency waves emitted from conventional Wi-Fi devices. J Pediatr Urol. 2013; 9: 223–229. doi:10.1016/j.jpurol.2012.02.015.
Poulletier de Gannes F, Billaudel B, Haro E, Taxile M, Le Montagner L, Hurtier A, et al. Rat fertility and embryo fetal development: Influence of exposure to the Wi-Fi signal. Reprod Toxicol. 2013; 36: 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2012.11.003.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top