December 9, 2004 11:17 AM PST

Study: Laptop heat a threat to fertility

Laptop or fertility, which would you choose?

A study by State University of New York researchers says heat generated from laptops can significantly elevate the temperature of the scrotum, potentially putting sperm count at risk.

And for the growing segment of the working world that relies on laptops, a dilemma may emerge on whether to be productive at work or in the bedroom.

"Heat from laptops is very localized, with exposure repeated often, depending on work use."
--Dr. Yefim Sheynkin

"An elevation in heat has been known for years to cause fertility problems...and the heat from laptops is very localized, with exposure repeated often, depending on work use," said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, who led the research team behind the study.

The study, which included more than two dozen men ages 21 to 35, found that the sitting position required to balance a laptop can raise scrotum temperature by as much as 2.1 degrees Celsius, Sheynkin said. Heat from the laptop itself can raise the temperature by another 0.7 C, bringing the potential total increase to 2.8 C.

"Because our study found the scrotum temperature can go up significantly, we plan to take a more in-depth look at how laptop use can directly affect sperm production and quality," Sheynkin said, adding that he hopes to undertake the new project sometime next year.

European fertility studies, meanwhile, have shown that in general, an increase in scrotum temperature by 1 C can reduce sperm count by as much as 40 percent, Sheynkin said.

Heat generated from laptops is nothing new. A couple of cases have emerged over the years of laptops catching fire due to defective batteries or faulty AC adapters. Laptop users have been known to use pillows, books or other items on their laps to buffer the heat emitted from portable computers.

But before hardware makers rush out to develop new laptop peripherals designed to protect fertility, Sheynkin has a word of caution.

"Devices or pads to protect the scrotum are not a bad idea, but these would need to be investigated and tested before putting out just another gadget for people to use," Sheynkin said. "Depending on the position people use to balance the laptop and how close their thighs are, the scrotum temperature can still go up."

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Study: Laptop heat a threat to fertility
Shouldn't we all just go back to kilts?
Posted by WmRyan (1 comment )
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Chill Mat
When I purchased my laptop, I got a USB powered "chill-mat" to fan away excess heat. WOW, I'm glad I had the forsight.

But then again, I play Everquest and Dungeons & Dragons...so it's not like I have a line of women outside my room just begging to reproduce.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Get a life! A hot bath will cause the same issue.
Any heat exposure (98.6 degrees or higher) to the scrotum area for any length of time will cause the same temporary problem. A hot bath, sitting in a heated automobile seat or heated Lazy-Boy, hot tub, and even saunas and steam rooms.
The connection of this age-old issue to a laptop computer makes for a fluff story worthy of the National Enquirer, not of technical sites.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
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Now that's done, take it the next step.
The next step would be for them to study the effect of males warring underwear, that cant be good for the temperature of the scrotum. That will pin it against the body raising the temperature. Thats why boxers may be better but it really any better?

Going free would be the best way. In our society I know thats not going to happen any time soon. The big thing is that lots of money is made on underwear so a reproductive health risk will never be released on warring them.
Posted by (1 comment )
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lol i agree
wow, researchers must have no more things to research about, relating usage of laptops to reduced sperm count... y not research cancer cures or something infinitely more productive??

if the world's population diminishes because of laptop use and those researchers solve it, then i'll congratulate you for using your time wisely.

otherwise... just take a hot bath, ppl holding your thing raises temp too, why not just put an ice pack on it? there, laptop problem solved rofl
Posted by (4 comments )
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Check out ThermaPAK.com
Yeah, this is a shameless plug for ThermaPAK.com. But, hey gotta give credit where it is due. Apparently, this "device" is a duo-function laptop sleeve and heat shield. Unlike the conventional stuff on the market, this thing absorbs heat and requires no electricity. It just seems neat. Haven't tried it out yet, but I'll let you know when I do.
Posted by (2 comments )
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Thermapak Laptop Cooling Sleeve - REVIEW
Bought one of these babies last week, and here's what I think so far.

1. PROECTION: The neoprene laptop sleeve just holds my 15" gateway, and it's kind of a snug fit. While the sleeve seems like it'd protect against scratches, don't expect much else. If you drop or even bump your laptop, you're still screwed. The zipper is sturdy and the material is soft and pleasant. The sleeve has a slight "rubber" kind of smell to it, especially when it gets hot.

Protection: B-

2. COOLING: Now, my gateway laptop can get very hot when I'm doing intensive work or playing a high-end game. The pizza-sleeve-like grey side of the sleeve is stiff when cool, and it makes little crinkly noises if you smoosh it. Obviously, whatever is inside of it is in a solid state.

I fired up my laptop, began playing a game, and sat with it on the Thermapak sleeve. Soon enough, the laptop kicked into GET REALLY HOT mode, and the sleeve began to work. It became more pliable, as if whatever is inside was turning into a liquid. My lap DID get warm after a while, but never HOT. Without the sleeve, my lap would become uncomfortably hot, and this never happened with the sleeve. The sleeve surface itself did become warm though and my fan turned on as usual.

Conclusion: the sleeve does work, but don't expect miracles. You'll still be better off with a USB fan-based cooling pad. Thermapak is a good alternative to a cooler that zaps your battery, and it's good in a pinch when leaving the house. Afterall, no one wants to be stuck carrying a heavy laptop cooler than zaps your battery to boot.

COOLING GRADE: B

I recommend this product if you're on the move a lot with an abominably hot laptop. However, the $49.99 seems a bit steep. I'd say $29.99 is a better price for what you're getting. As for me, I'll most likely sell mine on Ebay--I can get the same lap protection with a book, and did I mention it's free?
Posted by (1 comment )
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