Using wi-fi on a laptop 'damages sperm'

Last Updated 30 November 2011, 18:16 IST

An international team has discovered that a laptop, using wi-fi, which is placed near male reproductive organs reduced men's sperm quality and also their chances of experiencing fatherhood, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

The study, led by the Nascentis Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Cordoba, Argentina and Eastern Virginia Medical School, found a quarter of the sperm placed next to a laptop for just a few hours were killed.

Evidence of DNA damage was also found. 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.

Meanwhile, semen placed under the computer without the wi-fi connected did not experience significant levels of sperm damage, according to the study.

"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 Dr Conrado Avendano, who led the study.

"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," he added.

In the latest study, researchers took sperm specimens from 29 healthy men, aged 26 to 45. Each donor sample was separated out into two pots and either placed under a laptop using wireless technology or away from the computer.

The researchers then used the laptop to download information from the internet for four hours. They found that 25 per cent of the sperm under the laptop had stopped moving and nine per cent showed DNA damage.

By comparison, just 14 per cent of samples kept away from the wi-fi stopped moving while just three per cent suffered DNA damage.

Dr Avendano stressed the results did not necessarily mean the same would occur in a real-life setting, adding that men should not unduly worry. But he recommended more research be undertaken.

(Published 30 November 2011, 09:49 IST)

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