Can temperature make that much of a difference to male fertility? Are there things couples should be doing to help encourage a healthy, happy climate for sperm so they will be more willing to engage in fertilization?

Sperm may be active little guys, but they are also relatively sensitive. This is why a man’s scrotum is specially designed to move around depending on the temperature. If he is very cold, his testicles will tuck up near his body to keep them warm and toasty, but if it starts getting a little tropical in there, his scrotum will drop down and dangle a little to keep things cooler. By maintaining the temperature in his testicles, the man’s body is protecting the production, motility and strength of the sperm. Even the most active of scrotums, however, can’t protect sperm when they are under assault from major temperature fluctuations caused by some day-to-day activities.

Studies have indicated overheating caused by things such as hot tubs, saunas and exposure to the heat from laptops can lead to low sperm counts and low motility. Even more shocking is the link that has been drawn between cell phone usage and sperm issues. Researchers found that men who regularly use cell phones, particularly those who carry their cell phones in their front pockets or on their belts, have dramatically lower sperm counts, lower motility, decreased viability and greater instance of abnormal physiology. The general belief is the heat and radio waves of the phones create an inhospitable environment for sperm, contributing to male infertility. While there isn’t a huge amount of science behind these ideas yet, men wanting to maximize their chances of having a baby are recommended to avoid hot tubs, saunas, placing their laptops directly on their laps and keeping their cell phones near them more than necessary.

Something fun for couples hoping for a baby to keep in mind, however, is that the idea of boxers being better for sperm counts and mobility than briefs is essentially a myth. No reliable evidence has been shown to support either type of underwear as preferable for generating happy sperm.

Source: Agarwal, Ashok. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 89, Issue 1, January 2008, pp 124-128.