The word is spreading. Now scientists in Argentina have pitched into the "does WiFi damage male sperm debate," adding to existing reports and research performed in Hungary, Austria and Canada,
Recent studies focussed on potential risks associated with exposure to the electro-magnetic fields created by WiFi. So in addition to mobile 'phones, laptops, especially when used on laps, are also potential sperm-zapping culprits.
According to scientific studies performed in Argentina sperm subjected to WiFi exposure displayed reactions that ranged from lethargy to structural damage.
Samples were taken from 29 men and split between close proximity and a 4-hour exposure to a WiFi enabled laptop while some were a distance away and incubated under identical conditions without being exposed to the laptop.
Approximately 25% of the sperm close to the laptop were rendered inactive compared to 14% for those situated on the other side of the room. So it would appear that sperm motility (the ability of sperm to head in the direction of the egg determines their ability to fertilize) is decreased by exposure to electro-magnetic fields. Worryingly, 9% of the laptop neighbouring sperm showed DNA damage.
How much this experiment really tells us about male reproductive risk from keeping your cell phone in your trouser pocket is impossible at this stage to say. But it does fuel the continuing debate
But don't think that carrying a cell phone in your trouser pockets is the only way to put the squeeze on male fertility. Prolonged periods of conversation can also decrease fertility.
So how does holding a phone to your ear effect what's happening "south of the border?" Strangely, using a mobile phone appears to increase testosterone levels but scientists at Queen's University, Canada and the Medical University of Graz, Austria also found it reduced the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), an important reproductive hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain
It's possible, although unproven, that electro-magnetic waves may have a dual action on male hormone levels and fertility. WiFi may increase the number of cells in the testes producing testosterone but because of the reduced levels of LH it may also block the conversion of this basic form of testosterone to the more active, potent form of testosterone linked to sperm production and fertility.
So what's the bottom line here? It has to be said that studies so far have not conclusively proven the fertility dangers of WiFI although some of the data suggests a possibility. Inevitably, there has to be more detailed and carefully structured studies.
Until that happens what are the answers guys? Less time talking to her on the phone and more face-to-face communication? Or maybe have those pockets tailored with a silver impregnated (sorry) electro-magnetic shielding material?