Effect of electromagnetic waves on human reproduction.
Clastogenic effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) on human sperm chromosomes were studied using an interspecific in vitro fertilization system with zona-free golden hamster oocytes. Semen samples from healthy men were exposed to ELF-EMFs (50 Hz, 20 mT) for 2 h at 37 degreesC under 5% CO2 in air. The samples were then cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen for shipment to a cytogenetic laboratory. After thawing the samples, motile spermatozoa were collected using a continuous Percoll density gradient centrifugation and then capacitated for in vitro fertilization with hamster oocytes. Sperm-derived chromosomes were analyzed at first cleavage metaphase. The present experiment was performed twice using semen samples from two different donors. In test-1, incidence of spermatozoa that displayed structural chromosome aberrations was 17.0% (35/206) in the exposed group and 20.8% (55/264) in the control group. In test-2, structural chromosome aberrations were observed in 11.1% (13/117) of exposed spermatozoa and 13.8% (13/94) of spermatozoa in the control group. In both tests, there was no significant difference in the incidence of chromosomally abnormal spermatozoa between the exposed group and the control group. Types of aberrations observed and their incidences per spermatozoon in the exposed group were similar to those of the control group. Despite the small sample size, the present results suggest that ELF-EMFs have no clastogenic effect on human sperm chromosomes.