What is EMFs Effect on Fertility and Pregnancy?
EMFs Compromise Fertility and Pregnancy
What is Electromagnetic Radiation?
Above 0 Kelvin (-273.1° C) everything has a vibration that reflects the energy inherent within it, that originates from the sub-atomic level. There is always an associated electrical field with a perpendicular magnetic field that is generated – hence the term electromagnetic field. These frequencies radiate out in waves with a wavelength determined by the amount of energy that generates it and certain characteristics of the source, such as atomic structure and bond lengths whether from a single source or the combined characteristics of many different elements.
The Earth has a natural frequency called the Schumann Wave of 7.83Hz and of course the Sun radiates very powerful EMFs within the infra-red, visible and ultraviolet sections of the spectrum. These weaken in an inverse square relationship which means that as the EMFs travel away from their source their strength reduces exponentially. We are able to cope with the radiation that Earth receives from the Sun because it is very much weaker by the time it gets here and natural variations such as solar flares that can influence our weather are transient.
When energy is added to a system, it emits more EMFs. We can manipulate this to cause the formation of EMFs of a certain wavelength that can be utilised for different jobs from radio transmission at the lower end of the spectrum to X-rays and Gamma-rays at the upper end of the EMF spectrum.
The EMF Spectrum diagram above graphically demonstrates the range of EMFs that we encounter and how it is normally represented and considered. There are a number of artificial sub-divisions that are conventionally recognised. The first is the separation into ionizing and non-ionizing wavelengths with increasing energy delivery at higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths. At one point in time the same authorities who would have us believe that current safety regulations are adequate are the same ones that once told us that ionizing radiation was safe too, and allowed service personnel to watch nuclear bomb testing on atolls where the only warning regarding protection was being told to cover their eyes with their hands!
There are smaller subdivisions within these main categories too from extremely low frequency (ELF) through radio and microwaves to ultraviolet which spans both ionizing and non-ionizing divisions. It is very easy to fall into the trap of considering that exposure to some artificially defined categories is safe and exposure to others isn't and forget that is a complete scale of radiation with no natural categorisations other than the natural EMFs and levels we evolved within and unnatural EMFs at unnatural levels that our body has not been able to adapt to.
The amount of EMF radiation our body can cope with is a factor of frequency, energy level at that frequency and the overall exposure time in comparison with the ability of an individual to compensate for the total energy delivered and any damage it causes during that exposure.
It's maybe easier to think of it a bit like exposures of camera film – in bright light a film only needs a very short exposure with high shutter speed and it can more easily be over-exposed with the resulting picture losing colour and detail. However the same picture wash-out can equally occur in low light if the film is left exposed for long enough.
This also explains the comparison that a 7 hour long haul flight in an airplane is the equivalent radiation exposure to an X-ray. If the equivalent X-ray is being taken in a hospital there are regulations that require all unnecessary personnel to leave the room or to wear a lead apron, but for 400 people going on holiday it's perfectly fine! It is not a difficult leap therefore to consider that continuous life-long exposure to the EMFs used for Telecommunications in a frequency range that is not what we evolved in and that have been proven to cause biological changes without thermal effects that our body cannot properly compensate for is not likely to be safe in the long run.
A significant number of top scientists have been questioning the official safety position that non-ionising radiation is generally safe and that the official safety levels are adequate, with increasing concern borne out of evidence obtained through their research activities. As we will see, the official information and position can no longer be considered to be accurate and/or reliable.
Infertility is primarily a modern day problem on the rise
When it comes to IVF treatment itself the statistics indicate that it isn't as successful as you might think, and the hormone treatment can be tough too.
So where do EMFs fit into the equation for men? Well there is a large body of research that indicates that male fertility especially is adversely effected by EMF radiation.
Men frequently carry their mobile phone in a front jeans pocket which places it next to the testes where sperm are produced. EMFs have been shown not only to reduce sperm count but increase defects in the sperm. The known effect on DNA damage could mean that even supposedly healthy looking sperm may not be carrying the male DNA in best condition.
Of course mobile phones aren't the only source of EMF radiation. Laptops and tablets should not used resting on your lap.
There is increasing amount of microwave radiationfrom cordless landlines, Wifi and BlueTooth from all surrounding sources, not to mention the increase in Smart gadgets such as Alexa, HomePod, Echo etc.
Of course one of the main points about having a Smart Speaker such as those mentioned is the encouragement it brings to buy other Smart technology that can suddenly be voice controlled –lighting, curtains, heating and more besides.
The result is evermore EMF radiation within our house and incoming from neighbours too. WiFi boosters just amplify the problem as well as the signal.
Infertility in Girls
The reduction in fertility from EMFs is not restricted to men.
Women have eggs that they are born with, which mature and are released regularly from puberty throughout their fertile life until they reach the menopause. This has important ramifications for female babies and children whose future fertility may be adversely and irretrievably damaged during early life due to exposure to EMFs at a time when they are most vulnerable.
This is fundamentally different to men who make sperm continuously after puberty. The maturation cycle of sperm is therefore considerably shorter and provided the cause of poor sperm production and DNA damage is identified and removed the testes have the potential ability to recover and regain fertility.
Of course EMFs cannot be considered to be the only non-physical cause of infertility and there are other factors such as nutrition, infections and other causes of stress too.
When couples first start having difficulties conceiving and take steps to take responsibility to try to remedy the situation these other factors are more likely to be addressed and rectified, yet few will consider EMFs which can be enough on their own to stop conception. This has been demonstrated in the wild where birds nesting on or close to masts failed to conceive or had a significantly lower number of hatchlings that were less likely to survive. Adversarial behavioural changes between birds in a couple were also noted.
EMF exposure during Pregnancy
OK, so let's assume that conception has been successful and an expectant mother is now carrying her child.
To begin with, the foetus is only a few cells, but they are rapidly dividing to generate growth (aiming for 37 trillion cells as an adult!) and then the cells need to differentiate into the 200 or so different cell types within the body. This requires precise replication of DNA for growth and then precise expression of the DNA for the differentiation process. There are many stages and molecules involved within the foetus itself but also for the mother to grow and develop the womb and placenta.
There are hormonal changes in the mother that help regulate and maintain the pregnancy. Recent research has even started to identify that the health of the mother at certain key stages of foetal development can have a future impact on the health of their child after birth. In order to give her child the best opportunity for a healthy birth, development and future health it is imperative that the mother optimises her own internal environment whilst the foetus is developing.
Armed with a library of books on motherhood, internet research, and bombarded with advice from friends and family, a mother-to-be resolves to care for her body as kindly as possible during her pregnancy. Wholesome nutrition and supplements are sorted and she knows to stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, and other intoxicants. The love of shell-fish has been put aside temporarily and the attention has switched to what chemicals are being used for washing, cleaning and even what's present in make-up!
It is for these reasons that pregnant women are prevented from being exposed to the risk of X-rays, which would be for a very short fixed time yet there has been no safety tests regarding exposure of pregnant women to everyday EMFs 24/7/280.
Research looking at the effects of continuous lower than safety level EMFs on animals give no reason for confidence. Researchers in Samsun, Turkey published findings that rats prenatally exposed to cell phone radiation developed impaired learning and also showed damage to those parts of the brain involved in memory and learning (Inkinci, et al 2013). Another paper found that pre and post-natal exposure to mobile phone frequencies increased the expression of autism-like behaviour in mice (Alsaeed et al 2014).
The circumstances of pregnancy possibly increase the potential risk to a developing foetus. Women who are on maternity leave and are less mobile thanks to their growing “bump” have more time to spend on a laptop, tablet or smart phone especially when they are keenly surfing the internet for pregnancy and baby information. The bump itself is rather convenient to lean a laptop or tablet up against which of course is the worst thing to do.
As smart technology gets cheaper and moves into more areas of our lives there will also be the temptation to get more of it as expectant mothers become less mobile as their due date gets closer. It is hard to believe that something so important and potentially devastating has been given so little coverage and that there is no additional legislation to deal with it. However, as the following evidence demonstrates the risks are real and deserve consideration and action.
A Strengthening Correlation
A Kaiser Permanente cohort study published in Nature in 2017, 913 women were followed throughout their pregnancy. Discounting other risk factors researchers found that expectant mothers who fell into the “high exposure” category (75% of the subjects) were nearly three times as likely to suffer a miscarriage compared to those who had a “low exposure”. One important point to not in this study was that there seems to be a threshold of EMF exposure above which the risk jumps up, indicating that above this the response is not related to increased exposure.
This is consistent with the findings of multiple studies done on the subject over the last 15 years. A Chinese study in 2016 exposed female mice to Extremely Low frequency(ELF) magnetic fields throughout their pregnancy, with grim results.The exposed group produced 60% less offspring; spontaneous abortions and foetal deformities were prevalent in this group. Those offspring that were born displayed slowed development.
Whilst the Telecoms Industry might try to discredit studies where subjects were deliberately exposed because the aim was to induce adverse effects, this is the reality of everyday living now – we are all exposed. This situation was borne out in another study where 116 women, half of whom had experienced early spontaneous miscarriage, filled out questionnaires and had their homes tested for levels of EMF radiation. The group of women who miscarried were found to have significantly higher levels of EMFs within their homes. (Shamsi Mahmoudabadi et al 2013)
A selected list of references of further studies can be found at the end.
How to Protect Yourself from EMF Radiation
Those who are struggling to conceive need to take a truly holistic perspective on all aspects of their lives for both partners. Good wholesome nutrition and supplements, water quality and exercise are all positives to increase health, but it is equally important to remove those things that are a negative influence too. Alcohol, cigarettes, toxic chemicals are obvious choices and as we've seen EMFs need to be considered as another standard inclusion in this list.
There are general recommendations that apply equally to improving conception as they do to during pregnancy too, but should be considered good standard practice for healthy living anyway.
This list is not exhaustive and some points might seem a bit OTT at first glance, but one thing the research has demonstrated is that it is the continuous exposure above a relatively low threshold (well below official safety levels) that increases risks. Breaking up your exposure time and reducing the exposure levels to as low as possible is key to maximising your chances of eliminating EMFs as a possible cause of infertility and/or problems during pregnancy. The first trimester is most crucial as 99% of miscarriages happen during the first 14 weeks. Now you are aware of the issue you will see opportunities and ways you can reduce your exposure within your own environment and circumstances.
With something as precious as another human life, entirely dependent on the choices and environment of the one who carries it, if there is even the smallest chance of serious risk, reducing EMF radiation exposure in whatever ways possible is a sensible precaution well worth taking. Having taken all the precautions you can you can, stop stressing about EMFs – that's not helpful either, and you can rest assured that you're doing more than the vast majority of would-be parents who have no idea of the potential dangers they are exposing themselves and their offspring to.