Introduction

This chapter will aim to outline the basic principles of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and what is known about their interactions with biological systems, and then will discuss some early and the most recent findings of EMR and mobile phone exposure and male fertility. The main intention will be to work towards shedding light on the potential mechanisms of action of this radiation on spermatozoa focusing on oxidative stress as the mediator.

In recent times, there has been some controversy over the impact of the physical factor, radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) broadly on human health. Several studies have found an association between human health and exposure to RF-EMR, with emphasis on a range of clinical conditions including childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, genotoxicity and neurodegenerative disease [1, 2]. One such controversial area surrounds studies that indicate elevated risk of brain tumours after 10 years of mobile phone use [3] . However, for every one of these studies, there seems to be another refuting the claims [4] . Nevertheless, these studies are important in developing the field toward the goal of confirming or disproving claims that RF-EMR is a serious health issue. Although work which focuses on the rest of the body aids our understanding of the purported phenomena, this chapter will only focus on work relating to reproduction. To date, the "real" clinical effects of RF-EMR on human health and reproduction are not proven and still controversial; however, if we obtain a basic understanding of the physics of EMR and experimental design together with our knowledge of male reproduction and sperm cell biology, we are well placed to take this field forward markedly.

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