Men and women deal with infertility questions every day; could laptops be part of the problem?
Many couples fight the battle of infertility, but some men may be engaging in computer activity that is damaging their sperm, and they don’t even realize it.
According to one study, conducted by Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva, laptops and wireless connections may be killing sperm. The study, led by Conrado Avendano, was reported in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility in November. According to the study report, sperm were selected in the study process, and divided into two allotments. One allotment of sperm from each patient was exposed to an Internet-connected laptop by WiFi for four hours; the second allotment from each patient was a control and was unexposed, but otherwise incubated under identical conditions.
After four hours, the sperm from each allotment were evaluated for sperm motility, viability and DNA fragmentation. What scientists found may give men who are trying to get pregnant with their wives a moment of pause when jumping on their laptops. Results indicated that the sperm exposed ex vivo to a WiFi connected laptop for four hours had “a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.” However, the researchers also found that “levels of dead sperm showed no significant differences between the two groups.”
The study further suggested that the laptops, if on but not connected via WiFi, did not produce the same results on sperm. EM radiation from these laptops was found to be negligible. However, Dr. Robert Oates of Boston Medical Center, and president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, disputed the real-world implications of the study to Reuters.
"This is not real-life biology, this is a completely artificial setting," Oates 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 doesn't have to be."
Still, study authors indicated that, as this is the first known study to connect laptop use with the health of sperm, more studies should be performed in order to learn more about the use of laptops and WiFi.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa,” Avendano and colleagues wrote in conclusion. “Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet-connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect. We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to prove this contention.”
The study, “Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation,” is available online on the Fertility and Sterility journal website.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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