Can Laptops Cause Infertility?

Submitted by Jenifer on January 18, 2013

Laptop computers have become an important part of everyday living. With the proliferation of laptops and other forms of computing devices, concern has been raised over their effect on our health. One area of concern is whether laptops can cause infertility, especially in men.


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There are two areas of concern when one considers this question. First and foremost are the high levels of heat produced by laptops and the effect it can have on fertility. The other area is the radiation emitted by laptops and its effect on our reproductive system.

Let us consider the first area of concern, the heat generated by laptops.

A man’s fertility levels are measured by his sperm count and the motility of his sperm. Medical professionals consider 20 million sperm cells per milliliter of ejaculate to be the minimum level required for a man to be considered fertile. Such a high number is required because sperm calls are very sensitive by nature especially to heat. In fact, the relationship between heat and infertility has been known about since the time of the ancient Romans. Since the testicles are situated outside the body, they are generally 5 to 7 ˚F cooler than the rest of the body. Any increase in temperature can have a deleterious effect on sperm cells, reducing their count and lowering their motility.

The heat generated by laptops has been known to increase scrotal temperatures by as much as 5˚F. Some studies have shown that an increase in scrotal temperatures by 2 to 3˚F can decrease sperm count by almost 40%. While not all studies have demonstrated similar results, researches consider that an increase in scrotal temperatures by a minimum of 2.5˚F is required for the impairment of fertility. And while these changes may be temporary, prolonged use may adversely impact fertility levels in men.

In the case of women, no proof exists that laptop usage can affect their fertility levels. However, these results are still inconclusive and more research is required before the issue can be settled.

With regard to the radiation emitted by laptops, the frequency of radiation that is generated is classified as “extremely low frequency radiation” or ELM. It is a non-ionizing radiation that is emitted from all sides of the laptops, not just the screen. According to scientists, this type of radiation is considered safe and does not pose a risk to humans.

Sitting Positions with Laptops

It has been observed that sitting cross-legged and keeping your laptop on your lap can increase your scrotal temperatures by almost 5˚F. Prolonged use of a laptop in this position may have an ill effect on your scrotal temperatures, thereby affecting your fertility levels. The use of a laptop pad can cut this increase by 2˚F. Sitting with your kegs further apart can reduce it further. The safest way to use a laptop would be to:

  • Use it for short periods at a time
  • Place the laptop on a table or a laptop pad
  • Sit with your legs apart if you must place the laptop on your lap
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