Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation

Fertil Steril. 2012 Jan;97(1):39-45.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.10.012. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of laptop computers connected to local area networks wirelessly (Wi-Fi) on human spermatozoa.

Design: Prospective in vitro study.

Setting: Center for reproductive medicine.

Patient(s): Semen samples from 29 healthy donors.

Intervention(s): Motile sperm were selected by swim up. Each sperm suspension was divided into two aliquots. One sperm aliquot (experimental) from each patient was exposed to an internet-connected laptop by Wi-Fi for 4 hours, whereas the second aliquot (unexposed) was used as control, incubated under identical conditions without being exposed to the laptop.

Main outcome measure(s): Evaluation of sperm motility, viability, and DNA fragmentation.

Result(s): Donor sperm samples, mostly normozoospermic, exposed ex vivo during 4 hours to a wireless internet-connected laptop showed a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation. Levels of dead sperm showed no significant differences between the two groups.

Conclusion(s): To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa. Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet-connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect. We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to prove this contention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA Fragmentation / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Microcomputers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology*
  • Sperm Motility / radiation effects*
  • Spermatozoa / radiation effects
  • Testis / radiation effects
  • Wireless Technology*