If there was ever a reason for men to switch or stay with desktop computers, it’s this: Your laptop could be cooking your testicles. A new study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility and being discussed on USENET newsgroups says that within fifteen minutes of laptop use, scrotal temperatures are already out of the safe zone.
In a study in which thermometers were jammed into the scrotums of 29 males with laptops on lap, it was found that the scrotum overheated within a matter of 10 to 15 minutes. What’s overheating, you say? Research has said that overheating the scrotum by a mere 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) is enough to harm sperm. And while you may feel safe by using some laptop cooler, or by placing a pillow below the laptop, your scrotum will still suffer.
Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new study, said:
“Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range. Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe.”
But according to Dr. Sheynkin, men don’t feel the rise in temperature. Also, Sheynkin says that there is little that man can do to lower the temperatures, besides placing the laptop on a desk instead of their laps.
Dr. Sheynkin said:
“I wouldn’t say that if someone starts to use laptops they will become infertile,” but it could cause reproductive problems because “the scrotum doesn’t have time to cool down. It doesn’t matter what pad you use. You can put a pillow beneath your computer and it still won’t protect you.”
Still, heating up the scrotum is likely to be bad for sperm production, he said. He often asks patients that he sees for infertility if they use a laptop and, if so, suggests they spread their legs periodically or place the laptop on a desk to keep their testicles from overheating.
Although the scientists said that this type of laptop use will not cause infertility in all men, it does present a risk that could lead to problems in the future.
You’d think using a laptop would be a pretty innocuous activity, and certainly not one that could lead to infertility. But it appears not. Whether you take heed of this research is up to you, but if you’ve been trying to conceive and haven’t been successful it may be worth to sit on it a bit.