can laptop computers cause infertility in men and women?

Can resting a laptop on your abdomen cause infertility? This is a very common question that our physicians get. Unfortunately there are limited studies in literature to help answer these questions.

Laptops and Male Infertility

In men, elevated scrotal temperatures have been linked to infertility. We know there are many factors that can raise scrotal temperature, including hot baths, saunas, and tight underwear or shorts.  In a small study, following 29 men, the use of a laptop was found to increase scrotal temperature. Given this finding, perhaps extended laptop use could be included in this list of risk factors of increasing temperature.

Laptops and Female Infertility

For women, it’s a different situation, as the oocytes are produced in a woman’s ovaries and are found within the pelvic cavity. The oocytes are more protected within the body as compared to the male scrotum and the same concern for increase in temperature is not present. There may be concerns regarding other technology, but these haven’t been well-studied and conclusions can’t be made.

In short, I would recommend practicing caution when using laptops, it’s probably best for men to use them on a table or desk, rather than on their laps.

Thanks to Dr. Shefali M. Shastri, a reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, for writing this blog.

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Image credit: Elvert Barnes