[FACT OR FAKE #81] Does Using The Laptop On A Man's Lap Make Him Infertile?

A number of lifestyle choices, environmental factors and chance events can sabotage the male sperm. For example, using a laptop directly on the lap. But can it actually? Your weekly FACT OR FAKE columnist digs through the Internet to find how much of it is fact or fake.

Cover image via thebottomline

Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex, has profound effects on individuals in developing countries, as the production of children, vital for social security and for family income generation, is often highly socially valued

Infertility in these societies often leads to social stigmatization and abandonment by spouses. There are many biological and other causes of infertility, including some that medical intervention can treat.

Infertility rates have increased by 4% since the 1980s, mostly from problems with fecundity due to an increase in age. About 40% of the issues involved with infertility are due to the man, another 40% due to the woman, and 20% result from complications with both partners.

On average, the typical man makes about 1,000 sperm every heartbeat! Yet heat generated from laptops can significantly elevate the temperature of the scrotum, and sabotage the sperm.

So does placing a laptop on one's lap really affects the sperm and makes men infertile? How much of this is FACT or FAKE?

Image via Getty Images

Studies at Stony Brook University in New York have shown that sitting with a laptop on your legs can elevate temperatures in the scrotum as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour

"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 research team behind the study.

So it's true then? Using laptop on lap will make a man infertile?

NO. The study by State University of New York researchers says heat generated from laptops can significantly elevate the temperature of the scrotum, potentially putting sperm count at risk. It nowhere stated that the heat generated from laptop can actually make a man infertile.

FAKE: While any external heat source, whether it's hot tub, or even laptop, will cause sperm count to decrease, they return to baseline few months after decreased exposure to heat

There's a study showing the effect from hot tubs, which also contains some info about how long it takes sperm levels to recovery. This study addressed the relatively unsubstantiated issue of wet heat exposure as a factor in male infertility.

It demonstrated that infertile men who are frequently exposed to wet heat in the form of hot tubs, Jacuzzis, or hot baths, may realise a marked increase in semen quality following cessation of exposure. The response persists for more than 3 months, and is driven mostly by the increase in sperm motility.

Although if fatherhood is in your plans, you might want to steady your laptops on tables rather than on your laps, at least until additional studies better identify the possible risks involved. As this doodle shows, even the curator of this story does it.

A doodle by Delhi-based artist Neha Vaswani

Image via

On the side note, an earlier Stony Brook study debunked one widely held belief. In comparing the scrotal temperatures of 97 men wearing either boxers or briefs, researchers found there was little difference.

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