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What’s Killing Your Sperm Count?

What’s Killing Your Sperm Count?

Can laptop heat really lower your sperm count? What about skin-hugging underwear? To kick off Men’s Health Month, Urologist Bradford Stevenson is sorting fact from fiction when it comes to common sperm-killing suspects. Listen up, dads-to-be!

Does laptop heat decrease sperm count?

Portable computers placed directly on the lap tend to generate heat which can kill sperm. Elevated temperatures in the testicles decrease sperm count and it can take men up to three months to recover the sperm. This goes for other heat-inducing suspects, too:

  • Sitting in a hot tub or sauna CAN kill sperm because excessive heat is in contact with the testicles.
  • Tight underwear CAN kill sperm because the body’s heat can cause testicular hyperthermia and reduce sperm integrity.
  • Laptops CAN kill sperm when placed directly on a man’s lap. Use a desk or table to prevent losing swimmers.

What about cell phone radiation?

As soon as mobile phones became small enough to fit in our pockets, the rumors started flying. It still remains unclear whether or not cell phone radiation has a significant impact on sperm count. Some scientists believe the heat produced by a mobile phone — not the radiation — lowers sperm count. Still, more direct and controlled evidence is needed in order to prove either hypothesis.

The low-down on toxins

Ingesting chemicals can cause sperm damage and lower sperm production, but some chemicals have a stronger effect than others.

Smoking damages sperm, making them less likely to fertilize eggs.

Anabolic steroids have a negative effect on sperm production. When supplemental testosterone is given to a man, the hormonal signals that tell the testicles to make testosterone and sperm are blocked, and the man’s natural testosterone production stops.

Alcohol, if consumed in excess (more than 14 drinks per week), can decrease the production of testosterone while increasing a man’s estrogen levels.


If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, Ogden Clinic physicians can help. Our urologists have options for diagnosing and treating male infertility. Ogden Clinic OB/GYNs also perform evaluations for women struggling to conceive. Both departments have ties to specialists in the area if advanced fertility treatment is required.