Lap Off, Laptops!

The invention of laptops has changed the way people work around the world. Now that the computer is mobile, we can literally work anywhere – in bed, in front of the television, on the floor, at the park, restaurant, even in the car.

True to its name, laptops are almost always placed on the lap for convenience and ease of use. But with studies showing that male fertility could possibly be affected by placing laptops on laps, it may be time to reassess the way you work on the laptop.


Anyone who uses a laptop will know the intense heat generated after a few minutes of use. Is it any surprise when researchers discovered that the heat is high enough to affect sperm quality?

A 2004 study conducted at the State University of New York led by Dr Yefim Sheynkin found that placing laptops on the laps caused a 2.7° C increase in scrotal temperature. Having the thighs placed close together to balance a laptop on the lap increases the scrotal temperature even more.

The study, which was published in the European journal Human Reproduction, showed that the bottom of the laptop computers rose from about 31° C to almost 40° C after an hour.

The results were linked to an earlier study that showed that sperm concentration dropped by 40% when median daytime scrotal temperature rose by 1° C, suggesting that laptops on laps could affect male fertility in the long run.

The researchers advise teenage boys and young men to take heed and avoid using laptops on their laps to avoid potential problems when they are ready to start a family.


As if laptop use on laps was not bad enough, recent studies in 2011 suggest that wifi use actually has an effect on sperm, causing sperm damage and DNA fragmentation.

The results of the studies, conducted by researchers at Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva, Argentina, and the Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA, were published in the Fertility and Sterility journal.

The study was conducted in a controlled setting where semen samples from 29 healthy and fertile men were placed under laptops for four hours, one set with the wifi turned on, and another set where there was no wifi.

At the end of the study, 25% of the semen in the wifi group was found to be damaged (not thrashing their tails and swimming actively) and 9% showed DNA defragmentation, compared to 14% and 3% respectively in the non-wifi group.

The scientists conducting the study suggested that the sperm damage was caused by the electromagnetic radiation caused by wifi. Further studies on wifi showed that wifi carried significant electromagnetic radiation that could potentially affect fertility if not carefully managed.

None of the studies were conclusive and further tests are necessary to prove the connection between laptop and wifi use on male infertility. However, it would be wise for men to protect their precious jewels if they intend to become fathers in time to come.

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