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expert reaction to the effect of a laptop on sperm in a laboratory

A study in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggested a possible effect of a wifi-connected laptop on the health of sperm samples, when placed nearby in a container.

 

Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said:

“This is an interesting laboratory study showing that ejaculated sperm are significantly damaged after only four hours of exposure to WiFi from a working laptop. The study is very well conducted, but we should be cautious about what it may infer about the fertility of men who regularly use laptops with WiFi on their laps.

“Ejaculated sperm are particularly sensitive to many factors because outside the body they don’t have the protection of the other cells, tissues and fluids of the body in which they are stored before ejaculation. Therefore, we cannot infer from this study that because a man might use a laptop with WiFi on his lap for more than four hours then his sperm will necessarily be damaged and he will be less fertile. We need large epidemiological studies to determine this, and to my knowledge these have not yet been performed.

“Men who are concerned about their fertility should not be unduly worried about using laptops with WiFi enabled, although we know from other studies that the bottom of laptops can become incredibly hot and inadvertent testicular heating is a risk factor for poor sperm quality. There is a case report of a man who burnt his penis after using a laptop resting on his lap for a long time. Therefore, there are many reasons to try and use a laptop on a table where possible, and this may in itself ameliorate any theoretical concerns about WiFi.”

‘Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation’ by Conrado Avendano et al, published in Fertility and Sterility.

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