Could your laptop computer affect your ability to have a child? Research has suggested just that in men. Let’s separate fact from fiction.
As most of us know, it is difficult to get guys to the doctor anyway. When you’re talking about sensitive subjects like this, where there are some social stigmas, unfortunately, it even tougher to get guys in. And it’s very important for men to be aware of this and to be evaluated. There’s a common misconception that fertility is only a female issue, when we know about one in seven couples has some trouble conceiving within a year. And about 20% of the time that solely does a male factor, an issue on the man side. Another 30-40% of the time there’s a male factor contributing. So about half the time, if not more, there’s a male factor involved.
There’s a number of frames that we look at and one is the sperm count, one is the ability to swim, one is the forms or what the shapes look like, so there’s a number of things that can be affected.
There’s been a lot of research looking at heat transferred to the testicles and the effect of heat on sperm production. Men are built the way they are with the testicles basically outside the body, because the optimal temperature for sperm production and survival is 2-4 degrees Celsius less than the core body temperature. Heat transfer from a laptop on the lap can affect the temperature of the testicles, that is what the recent research has shown. And the next step in the studies would be to see the actual effect on sperm parameters. But we know heat affects sperm in a bad way.
The guys that do use laptops on their lap, even if it’s on a pillow or a lap pad, still have enough heat transfer sure, and still really we recommend keeping it on a table or hard surface away during those years where you are interested in preserving fertility and interested in building your family. And I have had a couple of guys anecdotally, that have had the laptop use; they use 1-3 hours a day, would take the laptop off and recheck the sperm count three months later and see some improvement.
My message to men is, basically, this is very common. You are not alone. This is all I take care for every day, so I see men for this every day, you are certainly not alone. And it is a very common thing, there is nothing to be embarrassed by. And there is an easy fix, if you can just change a few things, talk to your doctor about that. Often there are things we can do to improve your odds of achieving pregnancy really.
There is hormonal treatment, there are medical treatments, there are surgical treatments, there are lifestyle modifications, there are all sorts of things that we can do. We can get variables out of the equation sometimes that having a bad effect on man’s fertility.