My husband and I have been batting the idea of kids around for the past couple of weeks. Not seriously, as I have Mirena all up in my business and I’m paid through 2015, but figuring out if we want to aim in that direction and if we do, what kinds of lifestyle changes would we have to make, what kinds of trips would we want to take, things like that. One item of concern for me is my weight. By technical doctor/chart/BMI standards I am 100 pounds overweight. By normal, I can keep this weight up for the rest of my life kind of standards I’m about 50-60 pounds overweight. This kind of weight can play negatively in the baby making game, but not quite as seriously as hot balls.

Laptops are called that for a very obvious reason: they are computers you can use as they are sitting (conveniently) on your lap. The problem is that despite any fans that are working to keep the motherboard cool, most laptop users are familiar with the small amount of laptop burn that appears on their legs. Studies have begun to show that for men, even this amount of heat can cause problems in the fertility department. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a correspondent for CBS news, wrote a report on these effects. I wish she had linked to the “study” she kept referring to, but the basic premise is that if you are male and spend a lot of time with a computer in your lap with your legs together to hold the computer up, you are creating a sauna for your junk that could be resulting in your sperm dying of heat exhaustion. The study showed that it took only 28 minutes of a laptop sitting on a man’s lap for the scrotum to raise in temperature by 2 degrees F. Imagine if it was sitting there for an hour or two. That movement you see is the semen boiling. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal.

Snopes wrote an analysis of the claim and basically said that while no tests have been done on the actual sperm, it’s best to keep those laptops on a table or desk. Even small laptop desks or cooling pads aren’t very helpful in keeping your bits at a normal temp. All of the articles I found dated from 2004 to the present and seemed to say that while results weren’t conclusive, men who were planning on having children should limit their use of laptops as they were originally intended to have been used.

All of this is well and good, but in the case of many internet junkies that is like telling a smoker that smoking is bad for them and they should stop or letting people know that eating fast food is bad and you should be careful: actually getting people to stop is very difficult. Unlike smoking, drinking, or eating greasy burgers, most of us cannot simply stop using computers. Additionally, for some people laptops can be a more recreational computer whereas a desktop (aside from the avid gamers) or netbook are more likely to be work related (that is totally anecdotal, if someone wants to find proof I will put it up here), so a laptop is used while the person is watching tv or listening to music or some other activity where multitasking is the norm. Telling someone to go use the laptop on a desk  seems strange, because then they might as well own a desktop and do away with the laptop altogether.

I’m not sure how my husband would approach a lifestyle change in relation to his computer use. If a lap desk or computer cooling pad has no positive effects on heat distribution then he would need to keep it on a table or desk somewhere not on his lap in his chair. That has been a constant since we have been together, both of us relax with a laptop on our laps and a good show on tv. However, if kids are something we might want in the next 4-5 years, it might be time to change behavioral patterns to prepare physically for that kind of scenario. For men who do not plan on having kids I’m guessing that cooking your nut sack isn’t something that sounds appealing to you either and while I couldn’t find any studies linking laptop use to any kind of cancer, I’m assuming that if you sit with your laptop in your lap cooking your balls for 1-4 hours a day, at some point something is going to burn out and bad things might happen. Even if it’s just at the skin level, cancer has to be a possibility.

So gentlemen, whether you would like your tiny swimmers to perform up to snuff or you’d rather avoid testicular cancer (or just a dry, brittle ball sack), think about how much time you are spending playing Castles or Globs or World of Warcraft with your computer in your lap. Maybe that time would be better spent with a book, exercising, or maybe putting your tools to good use. 🙂

Until next time!