The modern man lives an ever-increasingly stressful life; financially, emotionally and physically. This fast-paced lifestyle can lead to a relaxed approach toward fertility until the time comes to start a family. Like cholesterol and other health concerns, many men seem to wait until an issue arises as opposed to ‘nipping it in the bud’…
One thing that the modern man seems to be surgically attached to is the mobile phone, we feel a need to be connected to the world wherever we are. Whether this is for social media, business or pleasure, having your mobile close to the ‘crown jewels’ can subject sperm to excess heat or radiation.
Radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by mobile phones could potentially affect the development and ultimately; the function of sperm. The current of the magnetic fields can generate heat, which directly affects the quality of sperm. Emitted radiation may also affect sperm production directly by potentially increasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may lead to damage of the sperm’s outer membrane.
Where possible, this risk can be reduced by avoiding prolonged exposure to the testes, e.g.:
- Putting the mobile device in a suit jacket (where appropriate) or bag
- Placing the phone on a desk when stationary for prolonged time
- When driving, place your phone in your cup-holder
- Keep your phone away from your testes whilst you sleep
Ok… so let’s say it’s been a busy day at the office, your mobile phone has been buzzing non-stop all day; business meetings and deadlines galore, the fun doesn’t stop there. You’ve still got that research proposal to type up, but it’s ok because you can rest your laptop computer on your lap and sit comfortably… right?
Actually, laptop computers can increase the temperature of the scrotal region when balanced on the lap of the user, almost 3°C, leading to damage in the DNA and morphology of the sperm. The same emission waves (RF-EMR) may affect the sperm health as shown in mobile phones, although the adapted seating position may cause extra heating of the scrotal region due to thighs being within close proximity. To avoid this risk, always use a desk when using a laptop.
Overheating of the scrotal area is a major concern, the temperature of the testes need to be slightly cooler than the rest of the body (hence the external location in the genitalia). Therefore, tightness of underwear is a key factor in regulating this optimum temperature for healthy sperm production. Brief-style underwear constricts the testicles closer to the body which can cause the testes to overheat, resulting in a lower sperm count.
In conclusion, it is vitally important for the testes to regulate temperature in order for optimum sperm generating conditions to be maintained. However, if these conditions are not met, it will not render you infertile, it takes 10 to 11 weeks for sperm to be produced.