Radiation From Laptops May Damage Sperm
If you use a laptop regularly, you may have wondered whether that computer sitting on your lap could damage your fertility. A new study shows that if that laptop is connected to the Internet, the radiation emitted by the wi-fi (wireless Internet) connection may damage men's sperm.
The study, recently published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, is one of the first to test the relationship between wi-fi radiation and sperm quality. The study suggests that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by wi-fi signals may damage sperm motility and the quality of sperm DNA. Unlike previous studies, this damage was caused independent of temperature.
Researchers in Argentina obtained sperm samples from 29 healthy men, and used only sperm that were motile at the beginning of the study. They divided each participant's sperm samples into two parts — one for experimentation, and one as a control. Researchers exposed the sperm to radiation from a laptop connected to wireless Internet. They found that after four hours of exposure, sperm had decreased motility (one-quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming). In addition, researchers found that after four hours of exposure, 9% of the sperm had DNA damage.
The control sperm samples were kept at the same temperature as the experimentation samples, but did not exhibit the same amount of damage. Of the control samples that were exposed to the same amount of heat, but not wi-fi radiation, 14% lost motility, and only 3% exhibited DNA damage.
The results of the study point to a relationship between radiation emitted by wireless signals, and decreased fertility. If you're trying to become a dad, you may want to avoid placing a laptop on your lap for extended periods of time, as the combined effects of the heat and wi-fi radiation may take a toll on your chances of conceiving.
However, experts have pointed out that results found in the artificial setting of a laboratory may not translate to effects in real life. No studies have been done to show that using a laptop has a negative effect on actual pregnancy outcomes, and more research is needed to find out how wireless signals may affect human fertility.
In the meantime, you can take simple steps to avoid this problem. Place your laptop on a desk or table when working, and if you're not using the Internet, switch off the wi-fi. It may or may not protect your fertility, but at least it'll give you some peace of mind.