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Is Your Laptop Cooking Your Testicles?
Whoever invented the 'laptop' probably didn't worry too much about male reproductive health.
Turns out, unsurprisingly, that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality.
And there is little you can do about it, according to the authors of a study out today in the journal Fertility and Sterility, short of putting your laptop on a desk.
The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that 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 Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new study.
"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it," he added.
So far, no studies have actually tested how laptops impact men's fertility, said Sheynkin, and there is no bulletproof evidence that it would. But earlier research has shown that warming the scrotum more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage sperm.
Under normal circumstances, the testicles' position outside of the body makes sure they stay a few degrees cooler than the inside of the body, which is necessary for sperm production.
"I wouldn't say that if someone starts to use laptops they will become infertile," Sheynkin told Reuters Health. But frequent use might contribute to reproductive problems, he said, because "the scrotum doesn't have time to cool down."