Special Report: Wi-Fi can affect sterility

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Men Beware. What you're doing on your laptop could be causing infertility. New research shows radiation from WI-FI connected laptops could be hurting your chance to conceive.

Laptop computers have become this generation's way of life. The keyboard has become an extension of our hands. With a click of a mouse or a punch of key, the world is at our fingertips.

"Class work, projects, watching movies, playing games," says said college student Casey Ward.

"I use it everyday during the week for study and to put lessons together, and messages together, to communicate with people in the congregation," says Pastor Jay Barcus.

But the digital devices we are dependent on could affect a man's fertility.

Does that surprise you? "Yes it does," says Randall Hudson, a college student.

"I have never heard that," says Barcus.

A recent study reveals men who use WI-FI connected laptops that are placed within an inch of their laps may be lowering their chances of fatherhood. Researchers in Argentina obtained semen from 29 healthy men and measured sperm cells' swimming ability after being exposed to the WI-FI radiation.

After four hours of exposure, one-quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming. "I should probably start using a mat under the laptop," says Ward. "Probably get one of those mats to set it on, or use a table more likely."

When I asked several men at different stages in life, their responses varied. "My wife and I, we have two children, and we are done, we are checked out, so I can just put this thing on my lap right now," says Barcus.

"I wouldn't want that to happen to me just because of a laptop," says Ward.

Sperm motility is a factor in successful pregnancies. The chances of fertilizing an egg are much higher if more than 40% of sperm are moving. Exposure to the WI-FI's radiation also damaged sperm DNA.

Poor-quality DNA can reduce a couple's chances of conceiving. "Most people just imagine the day when they are going to have children, they never stop and think about that it might not happen, so when it happens, almost every time I have encountered it, it has caught someone completely by surprise," says Barcus.

So before you grab that laptop and head to the couch, don't forget what you could be sacrificing. One thing's for certain, infertility is a common problem.

About 15% of couples are infertile, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, and roughly one-third of the time the problem lies solely with the man.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.