Laptops, Cell Phones, and Fertility Problems
The Wonder of Technology
The technology explosion, the information highway and the increase of electronic methods of communication have sent the world into a new orbit. Things happen faster than ever and people wonder how they ever lived without their cell phones and laptops. They've changed the way the world works and as it turns out, they may well have an effect upon the population explosion as well.
Not On My Lap, Please
A study at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, NY, led by Yefim Sheynkin, revealed that the combination of the legs-together posture used to balance a laptop, and the heat generated by the processor, elevated scrotal temperature by up to 2.8 degrees centigrade during use. Another test is in the offing to see if such exposure directly affects sperm quality and fertility. The relationship of heat to lowered fertility is well documented and the effects of heat on sperm production, motility and quality are transient. Consequently men who want to have babies are often advised to avoid hot baths, saunas and tight warm pants.
The increasing popularity of laptops, and the fact that their use is not short term or occasional, but rather repetitive and constant with the same heat exposure a few times a day over years, has indicated a long term effect on the men who use them. Studies examining the effects of the temperature on male genitals have shown a temperature rise of 2.1 degrees centigrade while simply sitting in the closed leg position necessary to balance a laptop, and when the computer is placed on the lap, an additional rise in temperature of .7 degrees. The added heat can have an effect on sperm production and quality.
Cellular Phones and Fertility
And then there's that other wonderful gadget, the cell phone. This time the effects are far more intense and the testing is more conclusive. Men who carry their cell phones in their pocket have a sperm count of almost 15 percent less than those who do not use cell phones or who carry them differently. Motility is affected - the ability of the sperm to swim - as well as sperm production. Long-term exposure to the electromagnetic irradiation emitted by cell phones cause deterioration in male sperm counts. Although the sperm counts of men using cell phones has not dropped to the infertility level, the danger is still present. In 2005 an Australian study showed that men who carried a cell in their hip pocket or on their belt had an average sperm count of around 65million per milliliter of semen - compared to around 75million for other men. Infertility, according to the World Health Organization is a sperm count of 20million per milliliter of semen.
A continuing fall of two percent a year would mean men born in the middle of the next century could be classed as infertile. There's still time.