A family member warned me not to use heated car seats, since they cause infertility and cancer in both men and women.

I searched the internet for a source for his claims and I found this Telegraph article from 2008 claiming might reduce fertility in men:

Heated car seats could reduce male fertility, say scientists

Men who use heated car seats could be unwittingly putting their fertility at risk, new research suggests.

Is this a correct interpretation of their source? Has any other research been conducted that confirms or refutes this?

  • 5
    Regarding the article - there is a big difference between "reducing fertility" and "Causing infertility" - the two are simply not the same thing at all.
    – Norm
    Apr 6, 2018 at 21:35
  • @Norm: I edited the question to match the claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 7, 2018 at 1:11
  • Note that the claim is very soft - it says it could be enough, in theory, not that the effect was measured in practice.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 7, 2018 at 1:12
  • Surely it depends on how hot :)
    – Sklivvz
    Apr 7, 2018 at 3:35
  • @Sklivvz: Living in a climate where seat belts buckles can burn, I've had limited experience with heated car seats, but the ones I have seen have only had an on/off setting and a preset thermostat. Do they vary much in temperature?
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 7, 2018 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


The Telegraph article may be correct.

There was a study that showed that sitting on a heated car seat increases scrotal temperatures by about 0.5°C. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17919605

It is known that 'raised testicular temperature has a detrimental effect on mammalian spermatogenesis and the resultant spermatozoa' https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25456164

For optimal spermatogenesis to occur, testicular temperatures need to be maintained 2–4°C lower than core body temperature. http://www.rbmojournal.com/article/S1472-6483(14)00545-8/fulltext

So if somebody's scrotal temperature is an optimal 4°C below core then raising it by 0.5°C (by using a car seat warmer) probably won't affect fertility significantly. But since googled pictures of 'scrotal thermometer' do not inspire confidence in everyday use it is best to go along with a common sense advice to limit heated seat use to a minimum.

  • 2
    Link two and three point to the same article.
    – Schmuddi
    Apr 7, 2018 at 8:35

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