A team of Argentine scientists placed healthy sperm under a laptop running a Wi-Fi connection. After four hours, the Wi-Fi-exposed sperm showed signs of damage including slowed motility and increased DNA fragmentation, the researchers found. Healthy sperm stored for the same time and temperature away from the computer didn't show the damage.
That is, the sperm exposed to Wi-Fi were less capable of moving toward an egg to fertilize it and less capable of passing on the male's DNA if it does fertilize an egg.
A separate test also showed that merely placing sperm near a computer (without Wi-Fi) does not cause nearly the same damage, the report showed.
The study scientists blamed the damage on non-thermal electromagnetic radiation generated by the Wi-Fi, according to Reuters Health.
The study, however, is far from conclusive on the effect of Wi-Fi on male fertility, mostly because the study was done with in vitro (out of the body) sperm. To continue to advance knowledge in this area, the authors of the paper suggested further in vivo (in organism) studies.
Commenting on nature of the study, Robert Oates, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, told Reuters Health:
This is not real-life biology, this is a completely artificial setting. It is scientifically interesting, but to me it doesn't have any human biological relevance.