Laptop Use And Male Infertility
Laptop computers has added so much convenience and comfort in the life of workaholics. Just imagine, with a laptop computer, you can work anywhere, anytime; without having to worry about wires, or actually having to move a heavy station (and all other factors that limits the mobility of a typical desktop computer user). However, advancement in the technology has also introduced you and your loved ones to a number of hazards; for example, damage to reproductive machinery due to radiations released by notebook computer.
What Is The Pathophysiology Of Male Infertility In laptop Users?
If your laptop is placed on a table or stand, the risk of damage to your reproductive machinery is little. Unfortunately, individuals who place laptops on their laps or in close proximity to the pelvic region, the effects are mostly damaging.
According to a new study conducted on 29 young males, investigators discovered that after one hour of laptop use, scrotal temperature rose by up to 2.5 degree Celsius in men who placed the portable computer on their laps (with both legs bonded together and without any insulator surface to ward off heat). Investigators observed that the scrotal temperature increases by 1 degree Celsius with the laptop use of just 11 minutes. Although, slightly modifying the sitting position and posture (such as keeping the legs apart by 70 degrees or placing a laptop pad between legs and laptop) can help in delaying the scrotal heating, but eventually, high temperature catches up if posture is not changed. For example, in this experiment, scrotal temperature increases by 1 degree Celsius in (1):
- 14 minutes if a lap pad is placed between closely approximated legs and laptops.
- 28 minutes if the legs are separated at an angle of more than 70 degrees.
It is no brainer that persistent exposure to high temperatures can cause serious damage to the testicles and sperms.
How Laptop Use Is Roasting Your Sperms?
- Damage to sperm producing machinery: Toasted skin syndrome is not the only problem related to excessive use of laptop, placed on your laps. It may also cause serious damage to the sperms. According to a new study reported in the Fertility and Sterility (2) journal investigators suggested that placing the portable computer on lap can increase the direct heat exposure to the testicles. It is imperative to mention that this emission of heat from the laptop as well as heat generated from the peculiar sitting arrangement (both knees locked together) is primarily responsible for damage to sperm making machinery.
- Damage to DNA: Study conducted by Conrado Avendaño and colleagues explored the hazardous effects on the sperm viability by wireless internet and identified that persistent exposure to heat from the laptop can significantly decrease the sperm mobility and aggravates the risk of DNA fragmentation (2); thereby leading to male infertility.
According to Yelim Sheynkin, the renowned urologist at the State University of New York (Stony Brook), the temperature of scrotum rises above the safety levels, just after 10 to 15 minutes of laptop computing. He also suggested that laptop computing alone doesn’t induce infertility but excessive use for longer periods of time can make you more vulnerable to experience fertility issues.
What Can Be Done To Minimize The Risk Of Infertility In Chronic Laptop Users?
It is highly recommended to limit the laptop use unless absolutely necessary. In addition, following interventions can be adopted to limit the damage:
- The cooler pads can be placed beneath the laptop, which are believed to help in reducing the exposure of direct heat to the skin but doesn’t aid in reducing the temperature of scrotum.
- Although, keeping the legs apart helps in keeping the temperature of scrotum normal, but even this tactic has minimal role in long term users.
- It is better to avoid keeping the portable computer on your lap, instead place it on the table or any other surface.
1. Sheynkin, Y., Welliver, R., Winer, A., Hajimirzaee, F., Ahn, H., & Lee, K. (2011). Protection from scrotal hyperthermia in portable computer computer users. Fertility and sterility, 95(2), 647-651.
2. Avendano, C., Mata, A., Sarmiento, C. A. S., & Doncel, G. F. (2012). Use of portable computer computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and sterility, 97(1), 39-45.
3. Sheynkin, Y., Jung, M., Yoo, P., Schulsinger, D., & Komaroff, E. (2005). Increase in scrotal temperature in portable computer computer users. Human Reproduction, 20(2), 452-455.