Technology and Male Fertility

Infertility is often thought of as a woman’s problem, yet men are just as likely to be a contributor. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the male partner is either the sole cause or contributing cause of infertility in approximately 40% of infertile couples. Could our relationship with technology be partially to blame for these statistics? Research is showing a possible link between laptops, cellphones, and a decline in sperm health. Men who position their laptops on their laps might be at risk of infertility. Laptops positioned on a man’s lap could increase his scrotal temperature by 2 to 3 degrees, which is counter to the way the scrotum is naturally positioned to be 2 to 4 degrees lower than normal body heat. The higher temperatures cause sperm to swim slower, and even a small spike in heat can affect sperm production by at least 50%. A 2008 study explored the effects of heat stress on mature and developing sperm in a male mouse given shock heat treatment, and the mouse had lower sperm count and a higher amount of DNA damage. Men can consider using a desk instead of placing their laptops on their lap while trying to conceive. In contrast, women’s reproductive organs are internal, so the heat coming from the laptop would be negligible in how it would affect her reproductive organs. Electromagnetic waves that come from mobile phones may also contribute to male infertility. A 2014 study concluded that normal, healthy sperm that was exposed to mobile phone radiation not only decreased in their ability to move, but also caused DNA fragmentation. This study alone may make some men think twice about carrying their mobile phones in their pant pockets or in holders on their belts. There have been limited studies on how electromagnetic radiation affects female infertility, but reducing exposure as much as possible could not hurt. Although it is virtually impossible to limit all exposure to electromagnetic fields, some ways you can decrease exposure include switching from wireless to wired versions of technology, keeping your phone on “airplane” mode most of the time, using wired Ethernet connection instead of WiFi, and unplugging electronics in your bedroom at night. There are many more studies to be done regarding the effects of technology on our reproductive health. Simply being aware of how heat and electromagnetic radiation can contribute to male infertility may help some men avoid reproductive problems before they start.


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