Posted by & filed under Digital Policy, education, healthcare, Human Resources.

Description: The digital age has left men’s nether parts in a squeeze, if you believe the latest science on semen, laptops and wireless connections.


Date: November 29, 2011

In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got semen samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

Four hours later, the semen was, eh, well-done.

A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around, for instance, compared to just 14 percent from semen samples stored at the same temperature away from the computer.

And nine percent of the sperm showed DNA damage, three-fold more than the comparison samples.

The culprit? Electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communication, say Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you feel this research is legitimate and if so what should be done about this information?

2.  Is this problem better solved with legislation or just individuals being left to make their own self interested decisions?

11 Responses to “Laptop Wi-Fi said to nuke sperm, but caveats abound”

  1. Breanne Marton

    I think this information does have some legitimacy as I’m sure that the study does have some validity in its research. I do agree with the articles other statements however that there have been no studies to determine the effects that this actually has on pregnancy. I think that the article makes some valid points and that people should take precautions if they do wish to have children but each person takes their own risk. I think that men specifically should keep this in mind when they are thinking if they would like to have children at some point in their life, but as the end of the article says, the number of people that keep their laptop on their laps anyways is usually fairly slim. I think if people are really concerned about the information that was provided in the study they should simply take the precautions suggested then and just not use their laptops on their laps. The implications of this study seem fairly straight forward in my opinion: if you’re concerned about it don’t do it. This topic does not really seem all that difficult to me to understand what should be done with the information given, use your laptop on your desk, problem solved.

  2. Pulkit Arora

    I feel that this is a legitimate research study because many men and women use laptops on their laps. Due to the electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi connection, semen is the main target for men. Since almost all men put their laptops on their laps, this study should be taken seriously. Researchers should post this study once the numbers are backed up from more evidence, so everyday people can read this. This can be accomplished by posting this study in local newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. Once the general public has found about this study, then each individual should be concerned with how they would respond from it. I do not think this problem would be solved better if it were made legislation. Since people use their laptops at home or at work, having this made into a law would not affect them. I think that each individual should decide how he or she would use this information. Since everyone is responsible for himself or herself, more people would take care of themselves from this study. The result from this study is pretty simple to understand, when using your laptop, it should be easy enough to put it on a desk rather than on your lap or if you’re in your bed then on a pillow or book instead of your lap.

  3. Rick Sharma

    Despite the success in the research, individuals should be left to make their own decisions on this study. The role of the scientists who researched this is to inform the general public, however it shouldn’t be forced on anyone by implementing a legislation, because after all it is the individual’s own semen he is destroying, not anyone else’s. As for the legitimacy of the research, we all know science is always innovating and discovering new things daily, therefore in order for any of the other research results to stand true we would have to give truth to these results as well. Although the decline of the semen isn’t exponential, it should be still be brought to people’s attention. There are a lot of people who spend considerable amount of time on their laptops and a lot of these people would then be using their laptops on their laps.

  4. B Schnell3

    I question the legitimacy of the research. As pointed out in the article, the setting in which the effects on sperm were tested is not exactly the same as real life. Having sperm in a petri dish under a laptop and then speculating on what will happen through clothing, skin, muscle, and scrotum is a bit of a leap. While I do recognize that this research is a good indicator that further study is needed, I dont know that it indicates a need for alarm. At the moment, my laptop is comfortably on my lap, where it will stay until I see more data. If I were trying for a child at the moment however, things might be a bit different.

    Legislation might be a good idea, but my knowledge of WiFi technologies and the devices that use it is too limited to speculate on what that would look like.

  5. Nathan Jensen

    It’s really hard to say whether this information is legitimate. It sounds like they could have used a bigger sample size or done more studies. They could have also used different variables in their research. To say that a males sperm count goes down because of a wifi signal I find hard to believe. Even if they did a few more studies and proved that it is true, would this really be a bad thing. With our world population recently exceeding 7 million, I think we as humans should slow down our reproducing. Some people may actually start buying laptops with a more powerful wireless card to help with that individuals birth control. Males don’t have the luxury that females do with different birth control methods, so maybe using wifi to lower our potency level might be a good thing. If people are really worried that their sperm count is going down we have numerous technologies and methods to keep the little guys swimming. There are pills that increase a males sperm count. The old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” is the bottom line. The drop they claimed happened due to wifi exposure was so minimanl than it shouldn’t effect anyone.

  6. Andi Watts

    I feel as though this research was done with the best of intentions; however the research is, I feel, not completely exhaustive. I also would claim that it is not conclusive based on the fact that they put a laptop onto a sperm tray and fired up the laptop. That to me doesn’t register as a viable, trustworthy experiment simply because you can’t compare that to placing a laptop on your lap. They should use more exhaustive methods to try and prove their hypothesis, but until then no conclusions should be drawn on the matter. I think no matter what the research says, people should react to this data in their own self interest and decide what is best for them; if a man decides he never wants to have kids, all the power to him, download away. Those kinds of decisions shouldn’t be made for people through government legislation because these are highly personal matters. If there were more physical ailments being caused that are directly linked to using your laptop, I’m sure we would have the technology to stifle the issue at hand. At the end of the day, Mountain Dew isn’t illegal nor are ‘tighty-whiteys’. Enough said.

  7. Alejandro Valderrabano

    Thiss experiment shows consistent results, but the way the experiment is done versus what is really happening is different, si for example, putting sperm under a laptop is not the same as a laptop on a person’s legs, it is likely to have an effect since the radiation heats up the netherparts of a male which is detrimental for healthy sperm, but not as bad as having a direct source of radiation on top of unprotected sperm. This information should be taken with caution knowing that the experiments had their limitations as well as that it could be a healthy habit tokeep the laptop on a surface other than legs if possible, most of the time anyways.

    I think that an informed decision for people is better, some males do not even want to have babies anyways so it might not be a concern and maybe some people have their laptops on their legs 5% of the time they use them anyways. Therefore knowing the potential side effects of having a laptop on your legs and making an informed decision is probably best.

  8. Brett z

    I first head about this research last week on a Calgary radio station X92.9FM during their three o clock news discussion. Personally, I am convinced with this research being legitimate because with Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices in use today, I strongly feel this can and will effect our health. What should be done with this information? Not a whole lot, like most studies, they are released and for the most part that is the end of the road. I suppose mentioning this through the media on health reports and such is an opportunity for the researcher, however; at the end of the day honestly, this is quite up to the individual. With that in mind, I don’t feel legislature is required, but I do think laptop companies should perhaps issue a warning to users that through the use of wireless components, harm may be done.

  9. Mark

    I believe there has to be atleast some result to the radiation and magnetic whatcha-ma-call-it that is given off of devices. Have you ever seen the youtube video of the cell phones surround a few kernals of corn on the kitchen table. All the cell phones ring at ounce and the kernals start to pop – that is crazy stuff.

    It seems like very little research has been done on this subject which makes all these opinions we hear subjective. That being said it is subjective for me as well – I have testicals. I won’t be setting a laptop on top of them and begin downloading any time soon. It one of those things that if you believe it is an issue for you, don’t put your laptop where it don’t belong. If it is not a concern for you than no worries 🙂

  10. Kelsey K

    This is crazy! I have no idea if this information is legitimate. But it’s a crazy way to think about what our technology does to use! Who knows if this information is true, but there seems to be a lot of stories about the negative impacts of technology on our bodies. We’ve all heard of the cases about cell phones and brain damage through the ear. And, I think that with every new introduction into society, whether it is a new technology or not, that there will always be a new theory about the impacts and also benefits this new aspect provides to use! Who knows where this story could go, and whether it actually is legitimate. It just good to be aware that there are these theories in our society today!

  11. Mallory

    I think that this study does demonstrate some of the many possibilities that could happen with the increasing use of technology. However, with the study that they are trying to prove that electromagnetic radiation is decreasing the effectiveness of mens sperm. This has could be somewhat legitimate in a sense but for how true it is we have yet to discover. To me putting sperm under a wireless connection does not compare to placing your laptop with a Wi-Fi connection on your leg. The way they conducted the survey was a bit out of context although it the raditation did have an affect,the sperm was unprotected in this case with total exposure where in a real life situation the sperm isn’t out in the open like the study conducted.
    This study does give everyone something to think about though and I think its up to the people to make the decision on if they find this study valid and if so what choices they will make based on what they think. In my opinion though, I think this study needs a bit more testing because I think radiation on exposed sperm is different than havin the computer on your lap and doing the same thing. As the article said decreased fertility is not because of a laptop on your lap it is about keeping yourself healthly.

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