Since the dawn of wireless technology, it's been a fear amongst the panic-prone that the technology emits radiation that causes brain tumors, mutant babies and plane crashes. Couple that with man's unorthodox paranoia that everything from underwear to Mountain Dew can lower sperm count and we've heard our fair share of "wireless technology will destroy sperm" myths.
But according to a new study, this myth might have a basis in truth. Scientists at the Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Argentina took sperm samples from 29 healthy men. They separated each sample into two containers. One was placed under a laptop that was transmitting a Wi-Fi signal while the other was placed in the exact same conditions minus the laptop for four hours. What they found was enough to make some men reconsider perching their laptops on their crotch.
Their findings, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, stated that 25 percent of the sperm in the samples placed under the laptop stopped swimming as opposed to 14 percent from the control group. They also found that nine percent of the Wi-Fi exposed sperm showed DNA damage as opposed to three percent from the control.
While the experiment didn't conclusively prove that Wi-Fi is dangerous to sperm, there was enough of an effect that scientists recommended further testing. "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," they wrote.
But before you invest in a lead codpiece, fertility expert Dr. Allan Pacey told the BBC, "Ejaculated sperm are particularly sensitive to many factors because outside the body they don't have the protection of the other cells, tissues and fluids of the body in which they are stored before ejaculation. Therefore, we cannot infer from this study that because a man might use a laptop with Wi-Fi on his lap for more than four hours then his sperm will necessarily be damaged and he will be less fertile."