Testosterone is obviously a critical hormone for any man trying to conceive a baby. When a man has lowered levels of testosterone, fertilization becomes difficult for several reasons. Firstly, low testosterone can be accompanied by a lowered sex drive and sometimes by erectile dysfunction. However, even if all the equipment seems to be working fine, low testosterone may interfere with fertilization by disrupting the final stages of sperm development.
Dr. Agarwal, et al, from the Cleveland Clinic, explain that within the testes, specialized cells called Leydig cells produce testosterone. Testosterone production happens when the testosterone level in the blood drops below a particular threshold and the brain signals a series of events that include notifying the Leydig cells to produce more. This is important because the testosterone maintains and regulates the sperm development in the testes. When sperm does not reach full maturity due to testosterone irregularity, fertilization is going to be increasingly difficult.
For ethical reasons, it is difficult to conduct experiments on human populations regarding testosterone levels and cell phone exposure. There is an abundance of research that relates mobile phone exposure to declines in sperm health, so actually requesting that men expose their sensitive testes to mobile phone radiation as an experimental condition in order to analyze changes in testosterone levels is not an approved approach by WHO or other health regulation organizations.
Therefore, testosterone level and mobile phone exposure experiments are typically conducted on animals including rats and rabbits. This is not ideal and there are some biological differences. For example, rats can withdraw their testes relatively far into their abdominal cavity, avoiding the most direct exposure. Therefore, when research shows that there is a decrease in rat testosterone levels after mobile phone exposure for 30 minutes a day over 3 months, and there are even more significant decreases in testosterone if that exposure is increased to 60 minutes a day, it is not difficult to imagine the type of effect created from mobile phone exposure in a trouser pocket over the course of years.
Rabbit research conducted by Sarookhani, et al gives further evidence of the detrimental effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure on testosterone. Using a monopole antenna to produce 950 Hz at either 3 watts or 6 watts of power, conditions mimicking standard mobile phone radiations, the rabbits were exposed two hours per day for two weeks. The control rabbits averaged measurements of 12.02 concentrations of testosterone, while the 3 watt rabbits averaged 1.64 concentration levels and the 6 watt group averaged 0.667 concentration levels. Exposure created a dramatic reduction in testosterone concentration.
Testosterone research is tricky. It has ethical constraints. What is not difficult, however, is recognizing that while the research is not able to be conducted directly on humans, there are significant results obtained from animal studies. If conception is the goal, keeping sperm healthy is essential. Testosterone is one of the critical elements for strong sperm development, and mobile phone exposure is damaging.