All kinds of different electronic radiation has been blamed for nuking sperm. The latest culprit is wi-fi, which will seriously annoy those who hoped they could use wi-fi to avoid the dangers of cell phone radiation on their smartphones and tablets.
In a report published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists led by Conrado Avendano of the Nascentis Center for Reproductive Medicine in Cordoba placed samples from 29 healthy men, and placed semen drops next a wi-fi connected laptop. Four hours of Netflix viewing later, and viola: lots of dead --- or maimed --- sperm.
One-quarter of the sperm had stopped moving. Nine percent showed DNA damage. Meanwhile, a control group of semen kept at the same temperature, but away from wi-fi transmissions showed just a 14 percent drop in mobility and only 3 percent suffered DNA damage. Semen placed under the computer, but without any wi-fi connectivity did not experience significant levels of damage, the study showed.
The researchers said, "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.
"At present we do not know whether this effect is induced by all laptop computers connected by si-fi to the internet or what use conditions heighten this effect."
On the other hand, others pushed back against the study, saying that the scenario used by the Argentine scientists was not realistic. Dr. Robert Oates, the president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, said "This is not real-life biology, this is a completely artificial setting. It is scientifically interesting, but to me it doesn't have any human biological relevance.
"Suddenly all of this angst is created for real-life actual persons that doesn't have to be."
Instead, he said, if a man is worried about fertility, "You should be keeping yourself healthy. I don't know how many people use laptops on their laps anyway."
Actually, it's not that uncommon. Look at all these folks with "toasted skin syndrome."