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Heated car seats may reduce male fertility

8 September 2008
Appeared in BioNews 474

Scientists from the University of Giessen in Germany, reporting in the New Scientist, have warned that heated car seats could damage sperm production.

The optimal temperature for healthy sperm production is between 35 and 36°C, which is 1 to 2°C lower than core body temperature. However, having tested the effects of heated car seats on 30 healthy men, scientists found that the average scrotal temperature was 37.3°C. This was enough of an increase to damage sperm production, according to Andreas Jung, leader of the study.

The study involved 30 healthy volunteers, who sat on heated car seats for 90 minutes while fitted with temperature sensors. An hour into the trial, the average scrotal temperature of the men sitting on the heated car seats was 37.3°C, with one man reaching a high of 39.7°C. In contrast, the average scrotal temperature of volunteers sitting on non-heated car seats was 36.7°C.

If the scrotum is subject to higher than optimal temperatures, effects also attributed to laptop use and keeping a mobile phone in a trouser pocket, the body's ability to keep the testes cool is compromised and sperm are able to swim less far. This has a negative impact on men's fertility, with studies also suggesting that the partners of men who drive for over three hours a day take longer to conceive. Tight-fitting underpants have also been found to reduce sperm counts, as compared to men wearing loose-fitting underpants, a Dutch study has found.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Heated car seats could reduce male fertility, say scientists
The Daily Telegraph |  28 August 2008
Heated seats may be frying your sperm
New Scientist |  28 August 2008
In the hot seat
The Daily Mail |  28 August 2008
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