My wife and I have been trying to conceive for six years. I have been told that my body temperature is too high, particularly in my testicles, and this is the cause of my low sperm count. Is there any solution for us? I once used a device to cool the scrotum area with the slow release of water. Is this effective?
While body temperature – about 98.6 degrees F. – may be detrimental to sperm, the scrotum is designed to keep the testicles from overheating. In fact, the supportive muscles of the testicle are temperature sensitive. In a cold environment, the testicles pull closer to the body. When the body temperature rises, the muscle relaxes, allowing the scrotum to descend and keep the testicles at a more favorable temperature. A few years ago a device called the testicular hypothermia device (THD) was available. Essentially it was a water-cooled jockstrap; evaporating water kept the jockstrap a bit cooler than the surrounding environs. This was believed to benefit men with varicoceles (dilated testicular veins). Unfortunately, the role of high temperature regulation as a means to restore fertility for men with varicocele has never been convincingly proven. In fact, more recent studies suggest that varicocele surgery may be of limited value for all but large varicoceles. Rarely are any therapeutic efforts aimed at improving sperm count or function effective. After six years of infertility, I would suggest that if other fertility factors have reliably been ruled out by a trained fertility physician, you may wish to consider either ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization for male factor infertility.