Science News

Laptops Bad For your Fertility

Sun, 12th Dec 2004

Part of the show Superbugs, MRSA, Phages & Bdellovibrio.

A New York-based urologist warned this week that laptops could be bad for mens' sperm counts. Dr. Yefim Sheynkin studied 29 men in their 20s and 30s and found that using a laptop for an hour increased the temperature of the average scrotum by over 2.5 degrees celsius, potentially affecting fertility. Previous studies have found that raising scrotal temperature by as little as 1 degree celsius is sufficient to affect sperm formation, but the volunteers in the laptop study achieved this rise in temperature after just 15 minutes on the computer. The effects of temperature on sperm formation are well known. A 1999 study showed that American mens' sperm production can drop by over 40% during the summer, compared to the winter, and that in hotter temperatures sperm speed drops and the number of defective sperms increases. On the basis of their findings Sheynkin and his team argue that regular daily laptop use could lead to chronically low sperm counts and advise users to put their laptop on a table whenever possible. They are now planning a follow up study to find out to what extent regular laptop use can affect mens' fertility.

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