70 million couples around the world now struggle with infertility, with men and women being affected equally. There are many reasons for infertility: In addition to various diseases, factors such as alcohol, nicotine, a poor diet, stress and certain environmental toxins play a major role. The negative impact of electrosmog—the electromagnetic pollution (in particular that of cell phones and smartphones)—has on fertility has been known for quite some time now. However, wireless internet connections may also affect health—especially that of sperm. In a recent study, scientists from Argentina found that electromagnetic radiation can lead to lower reproductive capacity in men.
How does laptop use affect sperm?
According to the researchers, not only does the extra heat pose a potential risk, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by Wi-Fi connections can attack sperm. Those who work with their laptop directly on their lap risk harmful radiation damaging their sperm and the genetic material it contains. The result may include a loss of motility (the ability of sperm to move) as well mutations of the genetic material and/or DNA damage.
The Argentinian study and its findings
The study was conducted by researchers at the Nascentis Center for Reproductive Medicine in Cordoba, Argentina, and was headed by Conrado Avendaño, a biochemist who specializes in andrology. Together with other scientists, he examined 29 sperm samples from healthy, 25-year-old men. Each individual sample was divided into two equal parts and stored in different rooms at a controlled temperature. For all samples, one of the sub-samples was placed under a laptop with an active Wi-Fi connection for four hours. This served to create the same conditions for the sperm as when a laptop is placed on one’s lap for an extended time. For comparison, the other sperm samples were also observed, but without the use of wireless internet. The study’s results were alarming: Among the sperm cells that were irradiated, 25 percent were motionless, while only 14 percent were immobile in the samples that were not subjected to Wi-Fi. In addition, nine percent of the sperm cells showed DNA damage after four hours of irradiation, while in the non-irradiated samples only three percent were affected by DNA damage. So while sperm cells aren’t killed by the electromagnetic pollution emitted by Wi-Fi, they do suffer genetic damage and a significant decrease in motility. The Argentinian study’s results suggest that electromagnetic radiation can indeed negatively affect male reproductive capacity.
In order not to impair fertility, men should therefore not place laptops directly on their laps—especially if they’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Electrosmog and cell phones
Cell phone use, in particular if the cell phone is carried in a pocket or fastened to one’s belt, is also problematic for male fertility. This was shown in a study at the University of Exeter, England. Exposure of the groin area to cell phone radiation can damage sperm. For the study, the data of 1,500 subjects was collected and the mortality, viability and density of their sperm cells was analyzed. It was found that male fertility is reduced by an average of eight percent when a cell phone is carried near the reproductive organs over a longer period. The renowned German ECOLOG Institute has also concluded that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones has an adverse effect on male fertility. For this reason, men should carry their phones in another way or turn the device off completely to ensure that their reproductive ability isn’t being negatively affected.
Further research is needed to obtain even more detailed results about the effects of electromagnetic radiation on male fertility.