Laptop use on laps might reduce sperm quality: report

Sun Nov 7, 2010 10:34pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Using a laptop computer as the name suggests may not be good for male reproductive health, according to a study.

And there is little that can be done about it, aside from using the laptop on a desk, said Yelim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook who led the study published in Fertility and Sterility.

In the study, thermometers were used to measure the temperature of the scrotums of 29 young men balancing a laptop on their knees. Even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.

"Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range," said Sheynkin.

"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it."

According to the American Urological Association, nearly one in six couples in the United States have trouble conceiving. About half the time this is due to male infertility.

Under normal circumstances, the position of the testicles outside the body keeps them a few degrees cooler than the inside of the body, which is necessary for sperm production.

No studies have yet researched how laptops affect male fertility and there is no strong evidence that it would, Sheynkin added. But earlier research has showed that warming the scrotum even more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage sperm.

Though both general health and lifestyle factors such as nutrition and drug use can affect reproductive health, tight jeans and briefs are generally not considered a risk factor since people are moving around.   Continued...

<p>A business man uses a laptop displayed at main office of Samsung Electronics in Seoul October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won</p>