It’s Getting Hot in Here! Is Heat Affecting Your Fertility?
Trying to conceive can be a magical, but sometimes anxious, time. It is natural that you and your partner will want to do everything you can to increase your chances of falling pregnant as quickly as possible.
Perhaps you are both already eating healthily and avoiding alcohol, but another lifestyle tweak that could boost the quality of your sperm is to prevent your testicles from getting too hot. In this article we will explore the science to find out more about the impact of heat on sperm production, and what you can do to stay cool.
Why Does Temperature Matter?
If you’ve ever wondered why the testicles are outside the body, rather than being tucked safely away with all of your other organs, you’re not alone. Sperm is constantly being produced within the testes and, for the best quality sperm to be produced, these reproductive organs must be kept cooler than normal body temperature. In fact, for normal sperm formation to occur, scientists agree that the temperature within the scrotum should ideally be 2 to 8oC lower than the core body temperature.
However, our modern lifestyle makes it common for temperatures within the scrotum to rise. This is known as scrotal hyperthermia. The testes may become too hot if you spend a lot of time sitting down, if you work in a hot environment such as a restaurant kitchen or factory, if you wear tight underwear, or if you are overweight.
The Impact of Heat on Sperm Cells
A study in 2020 demonstrated that if the testes are exposed to heat, the quality of sperm produced is reduced. The research team studied 10 healthy men who underwent testicular warming by spending 30 minutes in a hot bath each day for 10 days.
By comparing the semen samples of the men before and after the period of testicular warming, the scientists found that heat can reduce both sperm concentration and motility. However, the good news is that if scrotal temperature is returned to below body temperature, sperm characteristics may return to normal after one or two sperm production cycles (approximately 2 to 4 months).
Lowering the Heat
It is reassuring that sperm production can return to normal once the temperature of the testes is lowered. You can keep things cool by:
- Giving hot baths and spas a miss
- Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting by taking regular short walks or breaks from driving
- Leaving hot work environments to get some fresh air
- Choosing loose fitting underwear
- Trying to lose any excess weight.
If you are worried that you could be at risk of rising testicular temperatures, it can be reassuring to check on your fertility at home. YO Sperm home tests provide an accurate way to check whether your motile sperm concentration is above or below the normal range. The test is performed in the comfort of your own home, with confidential results available within minutes.
There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that increase the chance of the testes becoming too hot. This can negatively impact healthy sperm production. However, by taking steps to keep this area cooler than the rest of your body, future sperm production can return to normal.
Find out more about YO Sperm home tests here.