Use of laptop computers connectedto internet through Wi-Fi decreaseshuman sperm motility and increasessperm DNA fragmentation
Ariela Mata, M.S.,
esar A. Sanchez Sarmiento, M.D., Ph.D.,
and Gustavo F. Doncel, M.D., Ph.D.
CONRAD,DepartmentofObstetricsandGynecology,EasternVirginiaMedicalSchool, Norfolk, Virginia
To evaluate the effects of laptop computers connected to local area networks wirelessly (Wi-Fi) on human spermatozoa.
Prospective in vitro study.
Center for reproductive medicine.
Semen samples from 29 healthy donors.
Motile sperm were selected by swim up. Each sperm suspension was divided into two aliquots. One sperm aliquot (experimental) fromeach patient was exposed to an internet-connected laptop by Wi-Fi for 4 hours, whereas the second aliquot (unexposed) was used as control, incubatedunder identical conditions without being exposed to the laptop.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Evaluation of sperm motility, viability, and DNA fragmentation.
To our knowledge, this is the
rst study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa. Ex vivo exposure of humanspermatozoa to a wireless internet-connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect. We speculate thatkeeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Further in vitro and in vivostudies are needed to prove this contention. (Fertil Steril
2012 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.)
Laptop computer, Wi-Fi, sperm quality, fertility, sperm DNA fragmentation
n recent years, the use of portablecomputers (laptops, connected tolocal area networks wirelessly, alsoknown as Wi-Fi) has increased dramat-ically. Laptops have become indispens-able devices in our daily life, offering
exibility and mobility to users. Peopleusing Wi-Fi may be exposed to radiosignalsabsorbingsomeofthetransmit-ted energy in their bodies. Portablecomputers are commonly used on thelap (1
3), therefore exposing thegenital area to radio frequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) aswell as high temperatures (3, 4).Infertility is a common worldwidecondition that affects more than 70million couples of reproductive age(5). It has been suggested that male fer-tility has declined during the past sev-eral decades (6). Such decline has beenattributedtothedirectorindirectexpo-sure to certain environmental factorssuch as RF-EMW (7).Extremely low frequency magnetic
elds can initiate a number of biochemi-cal and physiological alterations inbiological systems of different species(8
12). Many of these effects have beenassociated with free-radical production(13, 14). Free radicals are causativefactors of oxidative damage of cellular structures and molecules such as lipids,proteins, and nucleic acids. Free radicalsreact with polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes promotinga process called lipid peroxidation. Inhuman spermatozoa the presence of unesteri
ed polyunsaturated fatty acidsis causally associated with the inductionof reactive oxygen species (ROS)generation and lipid peroxidation (15).Damage may occur at the membranelevel, leading to immotility and celldeath,orattheDNAlevel.DNAintegrity is essential to normal conception.Sperm DNA fragmentation has beenassociated with impaired fertilization,poor embryonic development, highrates of miscarriage, and increasedincidence of morbidity in the offspring,including childhood cancer (16, 17). Ithas been proposed that genetic and
Received June 14, 2011; revised September 9, 2011; accepted October 11, 2011.C.A. has nothing to disclose. A.M. has nothing to disclose. C.A.S.S. has nothing to disclose. G.F.D. hasnothing to disclose.Reprintrequests:ConradoAvenda