Father's Day has prompted one fertility expert to issue a fresh warning to men who use their laptop computers on, er, their laps. Suzanne Kavic, director of reproductive endocrinology at Loyola University, says that most men underestimate the effect that the heat from laptops can have on sperm production.
"Laptops are becoming increasingly common among young men wired into to the latest technology," said Kavic. "However, the heat generated from laptops can impact sperm production and development making it difficult to conceive down the road."
Fertility problems are typically thought of as relating to the female partner, but Kavic points out that 40 percent of fertility issues are attributed to the male. Other leading causes of male infertility include varicocoeles, or enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum. This condition can raise the temperature in the testicles and damage or kill sperm. Other reasons include genital injuries or defects, certain sexually transmitted infections, prostatitis (an infection or inflammation of the prostate), hormonal disorders and erectile dysfunction.
For laptop users, Kavic recommends placing the machines on desktops toprevent damaging sperm and decreasing counts and motility. She also offered other tips to help protect male fertility, including:
- Avoiding hot tubs
- Using boxers over briefs
- Refraining from ejaculating too frequently (the recommendation is to only engage in sexual intercourse every other day around ovulation)
- Exercising moderately (one hour, three to five times per week)
- Avoiding exercise that can generate heat or trauma to the genital area
- Staying hydrated and limiting caffeine to no more than two cups per day
- Refraining from smoking
- Avoiding drugs and excessive alcohol use
- Minimizing exposure to toxins
- Avoiding excessive weight gain or weight loss
"Medications for depression, blood pressure and certain heart conditions may lower libido or cause impotence," said Kavic. "Men should talk with their physicians to see if medication is necessary or if they can switch to another with fewer side effects. With Father's Day, males should be reminded to take care of their health. A healthy lifestyle may make it easier to become a dad when the time is right."