Using Wi-Fi on a Laptop Damages Sperm and May Cause Male Infertility, Study Suggests

Scientists from the United States and Argentina believe that the wireless connection creates electromagnetic radiation that could damage sperm.

The team cautioned that the results were carried out in an artificial setting and said men should not overly worry just yet. Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Researchers discovered a personal computer using wi-fi that is placed near male reproductive organs reduced sperm quality and the chances of men experiencing fatherhood.

Scientists found sperm placed under a laptop that used wireless technology suffered more damage than specimens kept at the same temperature but away from a wi-fi signal.

At the end of the experiment, a quarter of the sperm had stopped moving, 9 per cent showed some damage compared with just 14 per cent that were away from the Wi-Fi had stopped moving.

Conrado Avendano, the lead researcher of the group conducting the experiment, Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva said: “Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality.

“At present we do not know whether this effect is induced by all laptop computers connected by Wi-Fi to the internet or what use conditions heighten this effect.”

Experts suggested the findings, published in this month’s Fertility and Sterility journal, were caused by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless communication that damages semen.

But the team also cautioned that the results were carried out in an artificial setting and said men should not overly worry just yet. In the study, scientists found a quarter of the sperm placed next to a laptop for just a few hours were killed.

Dr Robert Oates, the president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology doesn’t believe laptops are a significant risk to men’s health.

“This is not real-life biology; this is a completely artificial setting,” he said. It is scientifically interesting, but to me it doesn’t have any human biological relevance. Suddenly all of this angst is created for real-life actual persons that don’t have to be.”

Evidence of DNA damage was also found in the tests undertaken by the team from the Nascentis Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Cordoba, Argentina and and the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

In comparison, sperm that was stored at the same temperature but away from a laptop showed a smaller drop in mobility and a significant reduction in DNA damage.

Last year urologists also described how a man’s sitting with a laptop balanced on his knees can increase the temperature of his genital areas to levels that can damage sperm.

Some have found that radiation from mobile phones creates feeble sperm in a laboratory setting.

Male infertility is not uncommon. In fact, about one in six U.S. couples have difficulty conceiving. According to the American Urological Association, a man’s fertility is a factor in 50 percent of these cases. [via The Telegraph, International Business Times and Mashable]

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