Heat and Male Fertility

Jul 23, 2009
Male fertility is largely dependent on sperm quality. There are many factors that may negatively affect couple's chances to concieve. Recently, one of the major concerns for scientists became the effect of heat on sperm production and its quality.

How heat affects sperm production?

Sperm is produced in the testicles, which are located in the scrotum, serving as a temperature regulating organ. For the normal sperm production, the temperature in the testicles should be slightly lower than in your body, which is why testicles are outside the body. While in your body the normal temperature is 37 degree Celsius, the most favorable temperature for your sperm is between 35 and 36 degree.

The quality of sperm, including such characteristics as sperm motility and sperm count, can be damaged if the scrotal temperature increases. It takes several months for the sperm to become mature, while heat can interfere in this process, damaging the sperm in its development. The sperm count will also be affected, though no more than for a week.

Does heat cause permanent sperm damage?

Fortunately, the effect of heat on sperm is not as profound as other factors. The sperm damage due to heat is temporary and sperm quality and quantity should return to its normal with several weeks or months. However, when a couple is trying to conceive and already have fertility problems, such as low sperm count, it is good idea to reduce the exposure to heat to a minimum.

Factors that contribute to heat in the scrotum:

  • Hot tubs and baths

  • Sedentary lifestyle (such as prolonged sitting at the computer)

  • Bicycling

  • Heated car seats

  • Laptops

  • Tight pants

Tips to keep your testicles cool:

  1. Take a shower instead of hot tubs or baths. Saunas and steam rooms should also be avoided as they create the same heating effect.

  2. Limit your cycling activity and take more breaks if you need to cycle for a long distance.

  3. Stand up from computer at least every hour to walk around and stretch a little bit.

  4. Avoid using laptop computer on your laps. It is better to use desktop, floor or any other surface to create the distance between your scrotum and the heat from laptop.

  5. Limit the amount of time sitting at heated car seats or take frequent breaks from sitting.

  6. Wear loose underpants instead of tight briefs for optimal temperature in the scrotum.