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Do Laptops Pose a Fertility Risk?

Like the tech geek I am who owns a number of these gadgets, I couldn't resist posting this story about the heat generated from a laptop potentially affecting the fertility of men. Especially with chips getting cheaper and faster and laptops getting more affordable and running hotter...

According to the study, using laptops for just an hour increased the temperatures of men's scrotums by some 5 degrees. Scrotal temperatures that rose by more than 2 degrees can decrease the number and quality of sperm, which in turn can reduce fertility, based on previous research.

The caveat: Researchers didn't measure the sperm counts of the male participants, so the jury is still out on potential fertility issues. Still, the surface temperature of the bottoms of two Pentium 4 laptops used in the study increased from 88 degrees at the beginning of the experiment to 105 degrees after an hour.

In the meantime, a number of fertility experts weighed in on the issue and advised males who don't want to risk fertility issues down the line to find a desk or table for their laptops and get them off their laps.

Previous studies have found other causes of rising scrotal temperatures:

  • Plastic-lined disposable diapers
  • Prolonged car driving
  • Sitting at a desk all day

Chicago Sun-Times December 9, 2004

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