It is sometimes claimed that using a laptop on or in proximity of testicles can result in a lower sperm count. This Health.com article claims:

Can a laptop computer really affect a man’s ability to reproduce? According to researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, there is a direct correlation between laptop use and increased scrotum temperature—up to 35˚ in certain positions!

This increase has a well-documented harmful effect on spermatogenesis (the process of male gamete formation), so if you’re trying to conceive, leave the laptop on the desk.

What evidence is there to support or contradict this claim?

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    Are you wanting to purchase the mat if it does, or if it doesn't? – Peter Olson Mar 23 '11 at 5:17
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    @PeterOfTheCorn, Think of the preventative usage savings! – Kortuk Mar 23 '11 at 6:58
  • Note that you didn't ask the better question: does using a laptop mat increase my sperm quality w.r.t. not using it? Because otherwise, the best strategy would be: use a table :-) – Sklivvz Feb 16 '12 at 1:12
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    Even Better question: If the Catholic Church is against birth control, should they ban the use of laptops? :) – user3938 Feb 17 '12 at 15:31

Yes,

This wonderful article, Increase in scrotal temperature in laptop computer users in the Oxford Journals of Human Reproduction explains it nicely. So the heat that the laptop generates does lower your sperm count.

EDIT As pointed out by Solus, I didn't show that higher scrotal temperature decrease the sperm quality. So here is a study from 2002 that I found on NCBI called Impact of diurnal scrotal temperature on semen quality. that shows it.

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    And there I was thinking it was correlation without causation! – Andrew Grimm Mar 23 '11 at 6:22
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    The abstract reports a change in scrotal temperature, not a drop in sperm count. It also reports a significant rise in temp even without using a laptop. 2.1C without, vs 2.6-2.8C with. So 2 points: 1) you need to cite other research to support the link between temp & sperm count (or just cite their citation), and 2) just sitting raises temps, so while laptops don't help, you're not necessarily safe without the laptop. – Mark Lapierre Mar 24 '11 at 3:52
  • @Solus 1) you are absolutely right, will do when I can latter today. Thanks! 2)you are never safe (IMHO) – Zenon Mar 24 '11 at 14:14
  • @Zenon: you are not, however, considering the time variable. The 2002 articles speaks about median temperature during the day: using your laptop 30' on your lap before going to bad is different than, say, using it for 8 hours straight... – nico Feb 17 '12 at 7:56
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    It should be noted that it's the temperature that is relevant, not the laptop use. If you consistently have something hot sitting on your lap, you will have the same issues no matter what it is. – Satanicpuppy Feb 17 '12 at 18:27

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