Are Laptops a Risk for Fertility? What Men Should Know
Have you heard that laptops are a risk for male fertility? In case you didn’t already know, there’s scientific evidence warning that men who place their laptops on their thighs may be affecting the health of their reproductive organs and the quality of their sperm.
To be more precise, a link has been observed between exposure to heat and electromagnetic fields from these devices and an increased risk of fertility problems among men. To discover all of the details, we invite you to continue reading.
Laptops are linked to risks for male fertility
There are two risk factors that link laptop misuse to an increased risk of male fertility problems. Here, we are going to explain what they are and what the experts say about them.
The heat emitted by laptops affects sperm
Research published in the journal Human Reproduction exposes that the heat emitted by the laptop causes an increase in the right and left scrotal temperature (ScT), which causes a negative impact on spermatogenesis (sperm formation process), especially among adolescents and young men.
Although the study sample is small -29 male volunteers-, its conclusion allows to analyze considerable aspects in the field of fertility. According to the research, the laptop can increase the scrotal temperature by up to 2.8 degrees Celsius, which exceeds the normal body heat of the male body. Consequently, sperm quality decreases.
This is supported by other scientific publications, which detail that exposure to harmful radiation from electronic devices alters testicular function and increases the risk of infertility, since it affects sperm motility and concentration.
The study warns that other factors, such as elevated temperature due to exposure to heat radiating sources and sitting for long hours (which occurs with the laptop) cause alteration of spermatogenesis.
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Electromagnetic fields alter DNA
Spermatozoa contain in their heads the DNA that will contribute to the creation of a new human being by joining with the DNA of the female egg. Studies warn that continuous exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by items such as laptops can cause alterations to that DNA.
Research shared in Fertility and Sterility details that the use of laptops connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi has a negative impact on male fertility by decreasing sperm motility and fragmenting sperm DNA.
The researchers suggest that keeping the laptop connected by Wi-Fi to the Internet on the lap and close to the testicles may be a risk factor for infertility in men. Still, more studies are needed to corroborate this.
For its part, a study reported in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology exposes that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields can induce DNA damage by causing increased oxidative stress, leading to sperm cell death.
How to prevent laptop fertility risks
For now, larger and more conclusive studies on the effects of computers and other electronic devices on male fertility are lacking. Even so, the findings compiled so far are a reason to take preventive measures. What to keep in mind?
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that the laptop poses a risk to male fertility depending on how it’s used. Research shows that the time of exposure and the proximity of the device to the genital area considerably increases the risk of alterations in spermatogenesis.
That said, some recommendations are as follows:
- Decrease the frequency with which the laptop is placed on the legs or lap. As far as possible, it should be used on a table.
- Take care of your posture when using this type of device. Ideally, keep your legs slightly apart.
- Use a laptop stand. This helps to keep the device cool and reduces heat transfer to the skin. However, it should be noted that its use should be ad hoc, as it’s not guaranteed to keep the testicles at their optimal temperature.
We think you may be interested in reading this, too: The 6 Most Common Causes of Infertility in Women
Other tips to take care of your fertility
Beyond being cautious when using devices such as portable devices, there are other measures to be taken into account to take care of reproductive health. In the following space, we’ll share some recommended habits.
- Exercise: physical activity, such as using the treadmill for an hour, three times a week, improves sperm count and motility.
- Follow a healthy diet: foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish and low-fat dairy products help increase the number of sperm in each ejaculation, according to a study published in the journal Andrology.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing: wearing loose pants and underwear prevents more heat and pressure from concentrating on the testicles.
- Stay out of hot environments: as we have seen throughout the article, the increase in temperature in the genitals can damage spermatozoa.
- Stop unhealthy habits: alcohol, psychoactive substances, and smoking reduce sperm count and damage their structures.
Do laptops increase the risk of female infertility?
For now, there are no studies that show that laptops pose a risk to female fertility. Since the ovaries are well insulated from the temperatures and radiation emitted by these elements, no negative effects have been observed.
Like this article? You may also like to read: The 6 Most Common Causes of Infertility in Women
What is there to remember about laptop use and male fertility?
For now, there still aren’t enough studies to state with certainty that laptop use causes infertility in men. However, the evidence gathered so far suggests that men should take preventive measures when using these devices.
Specifically, it’s key to always use them from a desk or table to avoid direct contact with the genital area. Also, body posture should be taken into account when working with these devices. Keep this in mind!It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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Kesari, K. K., Agarwal, A., & Henkel, R. (2018). Radiations and male fertility. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 16(1), 118. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240172/
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- Rodríguez Pendás, Bertha Victoria. (2017). Fragmentación del ADN espermático e infertilidad masculina. Revista Cubana de Endocrinología, 28(3), 1-17. Recuperado en 07 de junio de 2023, de http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-29532017000300009&lng=es&tlng=es.
- Rosety, Miguel Ángel, Díaz, Antonio, Rosety, Jesús María, Pery, M.ª Teresa, Brenes-Martín, Francisco, Bernardi, Marco, García, Natalia, Rosety-Rodríguez, Manuel, Ordóñez, Francisco Javier, & Rosety, Ignacio. (2017). Exercise improved semen quality and reproductive hormone levels in sedentary obese adults. Nutrición Hospitalaria, 34(3), 608-612. https://dx.doi.org/10.20960/nh.549
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