Wi-fi laptops damage sperm?

Scientists are questioning if using wi-fi on a laptop could harm a man's fertility, after a laboratory experiment suggested ejaculated sperm were significantly damaged after only four hours of exposure. The tests showed sperm were less able to swim and had changes in the genetic code that they carry.

Not a worry

Experts stress this does not mean the same would occur in a real-life setting and say men should not worry unduly. But they are recommending more studies. The preliminary research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, looked at semen samples from 29 healthy donors. Each donor sample was separated out into two pots. One of these pots was then stored for four hours next to a laptop that was wirelessly connected to the internet. The other was stored under identical conditions, minus the laptop. The scientists, from Argentina and the US, suspect that the effect seen is unrelated to the heat kicked out by a laptop, although heat can damage sperm.


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 wi-fi on their laps.

Health Protection Agency
The UK's Health Protection Agency has been monitoring the safety of wi-fi. It says people using wi-fi, or those in the proximity of wi-fi equipment, are exposed to the radio signals it emits - and some of the transmitted energy in the signals is absorbed in their bodies. However, the signals are very low power. It is recommended that men should still be cautious about balancing a laptop on their thighs for hours on end.

The other issue is the heat emitted from a laptop, which could effect sperm quality, as sperm is sensitive to heat. In extreme cases some men have suffered burns to their skin after using a laptop on their laps for a few hours at a time.

It is recommended that men use a table - a fairly low-tech and obvious solution.