Laptop Usage Can Lead to Low Sperm Count and Infertility
Laptops may be one of the most useful inventions in the world, even more useful than TiVo and Jiffy Pop. However, a quite frightening study was released yesterday that linked laptop usage to infertility in males. The study, released by the State University of New York, suggests that the heat generated from laptops can significantly elevate the temperature of one’s scrotum, potentially putting sperm count at risk. While the laptop may be making us more of a mobile technology generation and more efficient in the workplace, when it comes to bringing home the bacon and expanding the family unit – laptops may make male sperm count drop.
“An elevation in heat has been known for years to cause fertility problems…and the heat from laptops is very localized, with exposure repeated often, depending on work use,” said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, who led the State University of New York research team. The study, which included a sample of more than two dozen men ages 21 to 35, found that while sitting with the laptop placed on one’s lap, has the ability to raise scrotum temperature by as much as 2.1 degrees Celsius. CNet reports that heat from the laptop itself can raise the temperature by another 0.7 C, bringing the potential total increase to 2.8 C. Translating that to the English system, thats about 5 degrees Fahrenheit – gadzoinks!
One question that comes to my mind is how many males actually do work on their laptops with the laptop placed above their scrotum? Personally, my laptop is usually on the floor or the desk or the coffee table, judging from the hordes of laptop users in Starbucks or other wireless Internet places, not too many of them seem to be typing away on top of the family jewels. However, I do confess that I have worked with the laptop on my lap before, which after about 3 minutes I did have to change position due to the heat.
Dr. Sheynik does plan to take a further look into the effect of laptop usage on infertility and low sperm count. “Because our study found the scrotum temperature can go up significantly, we plan to take a more in-depth look at how laptop use can directly affect sperm production and quality,” Sheynkin said. Some fertility studies have shown that an increase in scrotum temperature by 1 degree Celsius is known to reduce sperm count by as much as 40 percent.
Should laptop users stop using them? Is there going to be a huge exodus to smartphones and Tablet PCs? “Until further studies provide more information on this type of thermal exposure, teenage boys and young men may consider limiting their use of laptop computers on their laps, as long-term use may have a detrimental effect on their reproductive health,” lead researcher Yefim Sheynkin added on his website.
“Devices or pads to protect the scrotum are not a bad idea, but these would need to be investigated and tested before putting out just another gadget for people to use,” Sheynkin said. “Depending on the position people use to balance the laptop and how close their thighs are, the scrotum temperature can still go up.” There are several “on the go” portable laptop tables on the market.