It was not that long ago that the medical community finally declared that mobile phones do not cause brain cancers, or any other serious health problems. However, mobile devices have not been given the all-clear just yet. The latest hypothesis being tested is that wi-fi networks, particularly those in mobile devices such as lap-tops and mobile phones, may damage sperm.
Sperm damaged within 4 hours of wi-fi exposure
The new research was prompted by some data that indicated sperm could be damaged after 4 hours of exposure to wireless internet waves in a laboratory. In the lab experiment sperm showed reduced mobility and changes to their genetic code after being exposed to wi-fi. The research is being carried out to determine if the same damage can occur inside testicles.
Sperm has a life-cycle of around 3 months from its first formation so if ex vivo exposure to wi-fi can damage sperm then there is a strong case to support the idea that regular laptop use especially could be a bad idea for men.
More research is required to understand if this really is a serious threat. As many people have wireless on their smartphones and these are often kept in trouser pockets, in close proximity to the male genetalia, there is another risk of damage to sperm.
Few men worry about this topic, but healthy sperm is very important for reproduction. There are many factors at play which can determine whether your sperm are healthy or not. Lifestyle, diet and exercise play important roles.
“higher antioxidant intake was associated with higher sperm numbers” (Eskenazi et al, 2005)
Sperm takes around 3 months to form and during the early formation a healthy diet is important. Studies have shown that men who consume a healthier diet 3 months prior to ejaculation have stronger sperm which are more likely to impregnate.
As well as eating a healthy diet sperm health can be improved by not smoking, avoiding alcohol and generally avoiding pollution and stress.
Research and further reading
“Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation” by Conrado Avendaño, Ariela Mata, César A. Sanchez Sarmiento, Gustavo F. Doncel. Published in Fertility and Sterility.
“Antioxidant intake is associated with semen quality in healthy men” by B. Eskenazi, S.A. Kidd, A.R. Marks, E. Sloter, G. Block and A.J. Wyrobek. Published in Human Reproduction. (April 2005) 20 (4): 1006-1012. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deh725