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High Heat Exposure to Testicles and Infertility

Male infertility affects approximately one in every seven couples. It can be due to low sperm production, blockages or abnormal sperm function. There are a number of reasons that lead to male infertility and overheating of the testicles is considered to be one of the factors.

Sperm production

Sperm production is highly sensitive to temperature changes and requires a temperature of 2-4 degrees lower than the body temperature, for sperm production. The placement of the testes in the scrotum, away from the internal heat of the body is due to the same reason.

There is also a network of pampiniform plexus of veins that run around the testes and back into the body. They divert the heat and prevent overheating. The testes are also protected by the cremaster muscle that contracts in cold situations causing the scrotum to be closer to the body and relaxes in hot situations causing the scrotum to hang free away from body heat.

Sperm cells tend to die when exposed to too much heat. Continuous exposure to higher temperatures can cause sperm production to be lower, or cause the production of abnormally shaped sperm cells resulting in infertility.


For optimal production of sperm, the temperature needs to be 2-4 degrees lower than the body temperature. Therefore, the scrotum, where the testicles are located, is outside of the body. Sperm production is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and too much heat will cause sperm cells to die.

A network of veins running around the testes and back into the body function to draw heat away from the testicles to prevent overheating. The cremaster muscle, which protects the testes, also helps by relaxing and allowing the scrotum to hang away from the body when the body is heated. When the body experiences cold, this same muscle contracts to draw the testes closer to the body for warmth.

When the testes are allowed to be exposed to high levels of heat, the production of sperm decreases. Continued exposure can also cause the production of abnormally shaped sperm cells. The lowered number and quality of sperm results in infertility.


There are medical and environmental causes for high heat levels. If an individual experiences a high fever, this can cause overheating of the testicles.

Environmental sources of heat may be surprising. The testicles can be affected by heat produced from cooking, grilling, riding a motorcycle, sauna and bicycling. When laptops or cellphones are used for long periods of time, this can also cause overheating problems.

Late descending testicles, obesity and varicocele are also heat producing factors that can affect quality sperm production.

Infertility due to overheating can be avoided. When heat exposure does affect sperm, recovery to normal production may take up to three months.

If you have concerns about male infertility, make an appointment for consultation and treatment with one of the fertility specialists at Chawla Nursing Home. Our caring, compassionate doctors will help you build the family you dream of having.

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