Adverse Effects of Common Sports and Recreational Activities on Male Reproduction

Kush Panara, John M. Masterson, Luis F. Savio, Ranjith Ramasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context: Male factor infertility plays a significant role in infertility. Many factors have been associated with male infertility; however, the link between many sports and recreational factors and male reproduction remains poorly characterized. Objective: To evaluate the current literature regarding the impact of many common sports and recreational factors on male reproduction. Evidence acquisition: A comprehensive PubMed and Embase search for relevant articles published between 1970 and 2017 was performed by combining the following search terms: male, sports (including individual sports), traumatic brain injury, sauna, hot tub, fertility, erectile dysfunction, varicocele, environment, cell phone, and laptop computer. Evidence synthesis: Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction can be associated with sports with high rates of head injuries, such as American football. Although early reports linked other sports, such as bicycling, to erectile dysfunction, subsequent studies isolated these associations to sports cycling rather than recreational cycling. Certain sports (football, basketball, handball, and volleyball) were linked to increasing prevalence and severity of varicocele, offering a potential link to male infertility. In addition, recreational activities such as sauna, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, heated car seats, and laptop use were associated with high testicular temperature, which can impair spermatogenesis. Radio frequency electromagnetic waves from cell phones and laptops have also been shown to have deleterious effects on sperm viability and motility. Conclusions: Many common sports and daily activities represent potential sources of male infertility. Clinicians should be aware of these associations in explaining idiopathic infertility in males. Patient summary: Male infertility is an often overlooked component of a couple's inability to conceive. We outline many common and often overlooked sports and recreational exposures that have been associated with male infertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1151
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Bicycling
  • Cell phones
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hypogonadism
  • Male infertility
  • Sauna
  • Sports
  • Testicular temperature
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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