Womens Health

Hot and Bothered

It Takes Two, Baby

Getting pregnant requires two people (or at least a sperm and an egg). There is, and continues to be, a lot of focus on the role of the woman and her body in the process of conception. However, there is mounting evidence and focus on the place the man has in fertility and infertility questions. Male infertility affects people all over the world and the causes are varied, including everything from physical disorders all the way to cell phones.

Too Hot to Handle

One of the hot topics in male fertility these days is the use of laptops as they relate to sperm count. Testicular overheating is not a new concept in fertility circles, however, most of the information concerns overheating caused by saunas, fever, a hot tub or tight clothing. Overheating in these conditions can cause a temporary change in the quality of a man's sperm, making it poorer and thus leading to male infertility over time. That is why men who, together with their partner, are trying to conceive are advised to cease using hot tubs and saunas until conception takes place.

The Effects of Laptops on Sperm Count

But, there is another source of heat which endanger sperm in a man. The information came as a surprise when a study done within the past few years revealed that men who place their computers on their laps for hours every day are running a very good chance of reducing their sperm's effectiveness - thus putting their fatherhood dreams into jeopardy.

Yefim Sheynkin led a study at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, which showed that the combination of sitting with the legs together, necessary to balance a laptop, and the heat which is generated by the laptop itself, elevates scrotal temperature up to 2.8 degrees centigrade during use.

The effects of high testicular temperature and reduced fertility have been documented many times over and Sheynkin says that along with the already-known list of cautions, laptops could be added as they may also be a risk factor. "It's a unique situation with laptop computers," he says. "This is not a short term, occasional exposure, but a repetitive use of a computer, with the same heat exposure, a couple of times a day for many years, for a whole new generation of men." Think of men travelling on airplanes from city to city for business.

It's a Very Hot Topic

Other experts in the field of fertility have noted that the study has merit and are interested in future studies. "It makes perfect sense, but no one had thought about the fertility effect of a hot computer on your lap," remarked Marc Goldstein, a fertility expert at Cornell University Weill Medical College in New York City. "It's going to be a very hot topic."


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