Yeffim Sheynkin, of Stonybrook University has been studying the degree to which men are affected when using laptops perched on their laps. While it is widely known that the heat that is produced by laptops, when actually used on a human lap, can cause men to have fertility problems due to increased scrotal temperatures, until now, it had not been determined if different ways of sitting might produce different results.
Sheykin had volunteers in his study sit with a laptop on their lap for one hour while sensors recorded scrotal temperatures. He then had them sit in three different positions; legs bunched together, legs bunched together but with a shield between the laptop and the lap, and with legs splayed apart.
Sheykin found that scrotal temperatures in the men that sat with legs bunched together with no shield fared the worst with temperature increases reaching 2.3 degrees Celsius on average, which is rather significant when you consider that normal scrotal temperatures are generally 2 to 4 degrees Celsius cooler than normal body temperature.
Temperature is important in the scrotum because sperm tend to slow down or divide abnormally under higher temperatures; this is why nature caused testicles to hang down outside of the body so that lower temperatures could help the sperm do their job right. But by engaging in an activity, such as balancing a hot laptop directly over the testicles, men are impeding their ability to conceive children, something that may or may not be desired.
Sheykin found that not only did the position with which a man held his legs while working on his laptop significantly affect how warm his testicles grew, but there were large differences in how long it took to happen. As an example, it took nearly 28 minutes for average scrotal temperature to rise just one degree with the legs apart approach while it shortened to just 14 minutes for the legs together position.
Sheykin’s study suggest that there hazards that can be associated with using laptops; hazards that are not widely known and that maybe more research ought to be conducted. It also suggests that information that is known is not being distributed in a way that might be helpful to men who might be trying to conceive children, or those who might want to know that they might be damaging themselves with their laptops without any knowledge of what is going on.
And finally, despite this small study by Sheykin and likely others in the field, what’s still not really clear is how long it takes a man to fully recover from the effects of a heated laptop nor what the long term affects might be from repeated exposure.