Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Font Size

Laptop Computers May Affect Male Fertility

Best Not to Balance Them on the Lap, Study Shows
WebMD Health News

Dec. 8, 2004 -- Male fertility may be affected by perching laptop computers on the lap, according to a new study.

Balancing laptop computers on the lap raises the scrotum's temperature, say researchers including Yefim Sheynkin, MD, FACS, of the urology department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

About 15%-20% of couples that want to get pregnant aren't able to conceive. Many of those cases trace back to issues relating to the male. Gradually declining sperm production has been noted in recent decades, say the researchers.

Elevated scrotal temperatures have been linked to male infertility. Many factors can raise scrotal temperature, including hot baths, saunas, and tight jockey shorts.

Laptop computers may also belong on that list, say Sheynkin's team. They studied 29 healthy young men ages 21 to 35 for two, one-hour sessions in a climate-controlled room.

Participants were all similarly dressed in casual clothes. After having their body temperature taken and standing in the room for 15 minutes to adjust to the room's temperature, they sat down and were given working or nonworking laptop computers.

The researchers used two brands of Pentium 4 laptop computers. The brands aren't identified in the study, which appears in the European journal Human Reproduction.

The men balanced the computers on their laps. The researchers then removed the nonworking computers, instructing the men to hold the position for the rest of the session. Participants with working laptop computers kept the computers in place throughout the session.

The men's scrotal temperature was recorded every three minutes. The temperature on the bottom of the working computers was also monitored.

Scrotal temperature rose with the working and nonworking computers. However, the working laptops prompted a greater increase in scrotal temperature -- around a 5 degrees Fahrenheit increase (or about 2.7 degrees Celsius).

Participants without working laptops had a scrotal temperature increase of about 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.1 degrees Celsius).

Technology doesn't deserve all the blame. The position required to balance a laptop computer in the lap -- with thighs close together to balance the computers -- also increases scrotal temperature. Still, the heat generated by the laptops adds to the problem.

Today on WebMD

Four pregnant women standing in a row
How much do you know about conception?
Couple with surrogate mother
Which one is right for you?
couple lying in grass holding hands
Why Dad's health matters.
couple viewing positive pregnancy test
6 ways to improve your chances.
Which Treatment Is Right For You
Conception Myths
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Charting Your Fertility Cycle
Fertility Specialist
Understanding Fertility Symptoms
invitro fertilization