Could Electronic Use Contribute to Fertility Issues in Men?

A new study suggests that the use of electronics may contribute to lower sperm counts in men.Are you having difficulty conceiving? It might be time to tell your man to turn off his electronics. A new study suggests that the use of electronics may contribute to lower sperm counts in men.

When a couple is trying to conceive, men are responsible for 40-50% of infertility difficulties that they may experience.  A new study published in the journal Human Reproductive Update has given more reason for concern.  For men in Western countries, sperm rates have fallen over 50% in the last 40 years. Even more worrisome is that the quality of the sperm has diminished as well.

The international research team analyzed data from previous studies involving approximately 43,000 men from North America, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.  The analysis revealed that sperm counts had fallen 1.4% annually, for an overall sperm decline of 52.4% from 1973 – 2011.

Related: Understanding Male Fertility: What Every Man Needs to Know Before Trying to Conceive

The researchers are quick to say that they are not sure why sperm rates are on the decline, and they state that additional research must be done to determine the cause.  They do offer some speculation as to the cause such as chemical exposures, smoking in utero, and pesticides.  The researchers also cite a 2015 study, which shows a direct link between scrotal temperature and sperm quality and quantity.

While many factors can lead to scrotal temperature increases, such as the use of hot tubs, wearing tight clothing, and occupational choices that require a lot of sitting, another possible explanation is heat exuded by electronic devices. Studies have demonstrated that working with a laptop on one’s lap or a cell phone in one’s pocket may be contributing to lower sperm counts.

Related: New Study Supports Affordable (And Forgotten) Infertility Treatment 

A 2005 study by Dr. Yefim Sheynkin proved that laptop use causes a rise in scrotal temperature.  “We did find that scrotal temperature increased, and it increased significantly, in the men using laptop computer.  The laptop computer potentially may impact fertility by increasing scrotal temperature.” Dr. Sheynkin told USA Today.

Another systematic review of 10 studies found that men who carried cell phones in their pockets had an 8% decrease in sperm viability and movement.

While there is still a need for more research, there is enough evidence to suggest that keeping electronics away from your reproductive organs may be a wise choice for those hoping to conceive.


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