A new study suggests that WiFi signals from laptop computers emit  radiation that may be killing off sperm, suggesting that men could be jeopardizing their future children every time they rest a Wi-Fi-capable laptop on their lap. The study, conducted by researchers from Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva, Argentina; and the Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA, suggests that prolonged exposure to wireless Internet signals may have the side effect of killing sperm.

Using semen samples from 29 healthy donors, the goal of the study was “to evaluate the effects of laptop computers connected to local area networks wirelessly (Wi-Fi) on human spermatozoa.” One sperm from each patient was exposed to an Internet-connected laptop by Wi-Fi for four hours, a second sperm sample was used for the control group, and incubated under identical conditions without being exposed to the laptop.

The results indicate that the donor sperm samples exposed  to a wireless Internet-connected laptop showed a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation. Specifically, 25 percent of the sperm exposed to Wi-Fi stopped moving, and 9 percent showed DNA damage after four hours of exposure. In comparison, 14 percent of the control group’s sperm stopped moving, with only 3 percent of cells showing evidence of DNA damage.

Findings cannot be explained by a simple temperature difference since the the two tests were conducted under identical conditions. “We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the Internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. 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,” said scientist Conrado Avendano.

torrance stephens, ph.d.