Decreasing Sperm Counts?

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There’s a lot to like about sperm. They’re driven, goal-oriented, and hey, they’re responsible for half of your genetic material.

That’s why it’s so disconcerting that these little dudes are dying off in droves. The total male sperm count has decreased by about half since the 1950s, according to a large study that came out in the early ’90s, which showed sperm counts had decreased from 113 million sperm per mL to 66 million sperm per mL over the course of 52 years. Though that study was critiqued, an analysis from a decade later reached similar conclusions, and the World Health Organization even lowered the numbersfor what’s considered a “normal” sperm count in 2010, from 20 million per mL to 15 million sperm per mL.

Could my cellphone and laptop be frying my swimmers?

A 2015 study suggested a link between cellphone use and sperm concentration, which would be bad news for pretty much everyone. “Many studies in a number of countries confirm that cellphones can damage sperm,” says Dr. Devra Davis, visiting professor at Hebrew University Hadassah Medical Center and Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School. “As Consumer Reports recommended… nobody should keep a phone in their pocket, because doing so exceeds the as-tested exposure guidelines.”

Laptops are also a sperm killer — not because of radiation but because of heat. “Testicles are outside the body in order to keep sperm slightly cooler than your body temperature,” Dr. Hernandez-Rey notes. “A less common but easily correctable cause can be prolonged heat from… laptops placed right on your lap.” So put a pillow under your laptop and move your cell phone to your back pocket. “Distance is your friend,” Davis adds.

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