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While there is no evidence that working with a laptop on your lap will make you infertile, it can affect sperm count and motility. This is because it raises the temperature of the testicles. There is also some evidence that EMF radiation can affect male fertility.
If you often place your laptop on your lap, when you are at home, outdoors or traveling, here’s everything you need to know about the risks and dangers to your fertility.
Laptops and Scrotal Hyperthermia
If you’ve ever wondered why your balls are hanging outside your body, it’s because they need to be 1-2 degrees cooler than body temperature for sperm production. So anything that makes your testes too warm threatens the viability of your sperm.
Your testicles will produce less sperm and they’ll be of lower quality. This abnormal increase in temperature is called scrotal hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia). It causes oxidative stress, which negatively affects spermatogenesis (sperm production).
So how bad are laptops when it comes to overheating your testicles?
Laptops produce heat. While modern laptops are cooler, they can still produce quite a bit of heat especially when running intensive programs. When you place a laptop on your lap, the close proximity to your testicles causes them to get warmer than usual.
What makes it worse is that most dudes close their legs when working with a laptop on their lap. This traps heat between your legs, making your testicles even hotter. Placing a pillow or laptop pad under the laptop doesn't help since it traps even more heat.
Using your laptop outdoors in direct sunlight can also make matters worse. Your laptop will get hotter, which makes your testicles hotter.
To be clear, you’d need to use a laptop on your lap often — probably hours each day — for the heat to become an issue. If you only occasionally do this, there’s no reason to worry.
We should also make clear that laptops do not cause male infertility, as far as we know. Sure, the heat can be bad for sperm count and quality, but not enough to cause complete infertility.
Laptops and EMF Radiation
It’s not just the heat from a laptop that you should be worried about. Laptops also emit EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation. Many people worry that exposure to EMF sources like smartphones, computers and routers can cause cancer. But there is currently no evidence to support that.
So you don't have to worry that using a laptop on your lap will cause testicular cancer or any other kind of cancer.
However, there is some evidence that exposure to EMF can affect sperm quality. The evidence is mixed and nowhere near conclusive, but it’s something to keep in mind especially if you use your laptop on your lap often.
Who Should Be Worried?
Here’s who needs to be worried most about the risks from using a laptop on your lap.
- Men who use their laptop on their lap often, usually for hours at a time. Chronically high temperatures around the scrotal area is the biggest risk.
- Men planning to have children in the future. There are already enough things affecting sperm count and quality without adding one more. While putting your laptop on your lap will not make you infertile, there’s a risk it could make it harder to get pregnant.
- Men who are already experiencing fertility issues. The last thing you want is to make things worse.
- If you are exposed to other low sperm count risk factors like smoking, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and depression.
How to Protect Yourself
The solution is pretty straightforward — stop or minimize how often you use your laptop on your lap. Doing it once in a while is not a problem, so don't fret if you have no place to put your laptop when on the go or if you are outdoors. To reduce risk, remember no to close your legs too tightly and wear loose fitting clothes to improve air circulation.
If you find yourself doing it often, try to find an alternative place to put your laptop like a desk or stool. If you work from your bed often, there are laptop tables and holders specifically for use in bed.
Other Sources of Scrotal Hyperthermia
While we are on the issue of laptops and overheating testicles, let’s talk about other things that you should watch out for. These can also raise your scrotal temperature and affect the health of your sperm.
- Hot tubs and jacuzzis. Avoid sitting too long in hot water.
- Wearing tight underwear. Instead, wear loose fitting and highly breathable underwear like our self-cleaning Kribi sport underwear.
- Sitting for long periods can trap heat around the testicles. So get up regularly when watching TV, studying or working.
- Prolonged use of heated car seats. Lower or cut the heat after some time.