Is your laptop cooking your testicles?

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Turns out, unsurprisingly, that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality.

And there is little you can do about it short of putting your laptop on a desk.

The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.

"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it," said Dr Yefim Sheynkin.

So far, no studies have actually tested how laptops impact men's fertility and there is no bulletproof evidence that it would. But earlier research has shown that warming the scrotum more than one degree Celsius is enough to damage sperm.

Under normal circumstances, the testicles' position outside of the body makes sure they stay a few degrees cooler than the inside of the body, which is necessary for sperm production.

What about lap pads?

A lap pad kept the computer cool and also made sure less heat was transmitted to the skin. But it didn't do much to cool the testicles, and might give "a false sense of security," according to Sheynkin.

"It doesn't matter what pad you use," he said. "You can put a pillow beneath your computer and it still won't protect you."

As it turned out, leg position played a far bigger role. When the men sat with their legs spread wide they could keep their testicles cooler. But it still took less than 30 minutes before they began overheating.

Dr. Smith said the consequences of continued overheating of the testicles - so-called scrotal hyperthermia - probably weren't permanent, but might take months to go away.

"When interested in maximizing fertility potential," he advised, "minimize harmful exposures, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly."

Do you put your laptop on your lap? Are you worried about the effect it may have?

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