Does Sauna Affect Male Fertility?

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.


A recent study found that sperm production decreased when men visited Finnish saunas. But this effect was temporary, as the sperm production resumed to normal levels after the men stopped sauna visits. Still, this study raised questions and suggested that men not use saunas while they're trying to conceive. While there are no definitive answers to this question, some fertility experts recommend that men avoid saunas if they're trying to conceive.

Infrared saunas

Do Infrared saunas affect male fertility? One study concluded that sauna use decreased sperm count and reduced sperm motility. Another found that sauna use affected sperm concentration and DNA. This study is limited to healthy men and should not be applied to all cases. Future research could include examining the effect on low-baseline fertility and sperm development in boys without puberty. The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.

One study found that habitual sauna use reduced sperm count. One study conducted in 2009 found that sperm populations decreased by 50% after a 20-minute sauna session. Researchers attribute this reduction to heat-induced swelling of sperm plasma membranes and the presence of underdeveloped cells. Additionally, sperm mobility decreased as a result of heat exposure, which correlated with their ability to reach an egg.

Hot tubs

Studies show that high temperatures have negative effects on sperm. Hot tubs and saunas are no exception. In fact, research shows that men who regularly take long, warm showers and hot tubs actually reduce their sperm count. In addition, saunas increase scrotal temperature by as much as 1.7 degrees Celsius, which is detrimental for sperm health. Sauna use is best avoided until pregnancy.

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However, there are some men who have reported positive results when they stopped using hot tubs or saunas. In one study, men who had problems conceiving after a year's worth of heat exposure had improved sperm motility and count. The results of these tests lasted for three months, making them a great option for infertile men. Nevertheless, the risks associated with sauna use are still high and may not be worth it for all men.

Other activities that may affect fertility


The use of a sauna and bicycle rides may have an effect on the sperm count of men. A study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine showed that men who cycled for a minimum of five hours per week had fewer normal-looking sperm than those who did not cycle. Bicycling was also associated with poorer sperm quality, which can affect male fertility. This research is premature to conclude whether saunas and bicycle rides can improve sperm quality.

While the results of this study are preliminary, they may be of use to other studies. Researchers from the University of Cordoba in Spain studied the sperm of 15 male triathletes. These athletes were trained for three hours a day, had an average age of 33, and had been doing triathlons for an average of eight years. They concluded that bicycle rides and saunas may have an effect on male fertility, but only when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise. The full study is available here.

Using laptops

While many people may think that sitting in a sauna is good for their health, it can actually do more harm than good. The temperature of the scrotum increases up to 2.7 degrees Celsius while using a laptop, and the higher the temperature, the less sperm you'll be able to produce. Researchers have yet to find out whether laptop use affects male fertility, but studies suggest that it may be a factor.

One recent study has found that using a laptop during a sauna session can damage male fertility. Researchers found that men's scrotal temperatures rose between two and four degrees after using a laptop computer for 15 minutes. This raise in temperature can affect the formation of sperm, and they call for more research. For now, teenagers should limit laptop usage to the lap. Taking steps to protect male fertility may be the best way to prevent this from happening.


Researchers are uncertain about the effects of saunas on male fertility. The temperature of the scrotum needs to be about two to three degrees lower than the body temperature in order to produce healthy sperm. Studies have found that sauna use can reduce sperm counts and motility. In fact, 15-minute sessions in a sauna twice a week can lead to lower sperm counts and motility. This may affect conception. However, more research is needed to determine if saunas have adverse effects.

According to the study, saunas may affect sperm production, particularly in men who are already unable to conceive. Even sauna use may have an effect on boys who have not reached puberty, which would explain the findings. Some scientists are still unsure of whether sauna use actually decreases sperm count, and more research is needed to find out. However, it is safe to say that men who want to have children should avoid saunas.

Wearing tight underwear

Researchers have recently found that wearing tight underwear in saunas can affect male fertility. The study, published in the Lancet, compared the sperm count and quality in men wearing loose and tight boxers. The study also showed that men wearing tight underwear had lower sperm counts. The researchers concluded that wearing tight boxers can affect fertility because it decreases sperm production and signals the brain to increase production of follicle stimulating hormone.

The findings were somewhat surprising considering that men wearing tight underwear produced fewer sperm than those wearing loose underwear. The findings were also interpreted in terms of temperature. The testicles are normally cooler than the rest of the body, which helps produce functional sperm cells. Consequently, wearing tight underwear in saunas interferes with this natural cooling process, causing the dangly bits to heat up and impair sperm production. In addition, the study did not consider how age and BMI affect sperm concentration.


The research points at raised temperatures having a potential negative affect on male fertility. 

Any activity that increases the heat of the male gonad region could adversely affect the production of healthy sperms. 

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