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    Laptop computers connected to the internet through Wi-Fi may decrease sperm fertility potential.

    For a lot of us, the use of portable computers (laptops, connected to the internet wirelessly, also known as Wi-Fi) is a part of our daily routine. People using Wi-Fi, however, may be exposed to radio signals absorbing some of the transmitted energy in their bodies. These may cause damage to sperm and reduce motility (free radical production with oxidative damage of phospholipids, which are a major component in the sperm mitochondrial sheath). Portable computers using Wi-Fi emit radio frequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) as well as heat and are typically positioned close to the male reproductive organs. Can this have a negative impact on Sperm? This very question was addressed in a study published in a recent issue of the journal “Fertility and Sterility”.

    Avendano and colleagues from the Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba, Argentina evaluated the impact of an internet-connected laptop on sperm from 29 healthy donors. Sperm samples were divided into two groups, one exposed to the laptop and the other half from each sample exposed to similar culture conditions without the laptop for 4 hours. They measured sperm motility, viability and DNA fragmentation in the two groups.

    The results were quite interesting. The group exposed to the laptop computer connected to the Internet showed a significant decrease in sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation. The RF-EMW levels were 7 – 15 times higher in the group exposed to the computer connected with the Internet. The levels were much lower when the Wi-Fi connection was turned off. The other interesting finding of this study was that this effect from RF-EMW was independent of heat as both groups were exposed to the same temperatures. An increase in local temperature is known to have a negative impact on sperm parameters. They had kept the temperature in this experiment at 25 degrees C in both groups.

    Similar findings can be expected with exposure to cell-phones. However, most people are not exposed to their usage for prolonged periods of time.

    They conclude that prolonged use of portable computers sitting on the lap of a male user may decrease sperm fertility potential.

    Infertility Infertility treatment Male factor InVia Fertility Specialists

    Dr. Vishvanath Karande

    Dr. Vishvanath Karande

    Dr. Karande is Board Certified in the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.



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