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Table 2 Effects of increase in scrotal temperature through high elevation of whole body or scrotal temperature on sperm number in men

From: Hormonal, chemical and thermal inhibition of spermatogenesis: contribution of French teams to international data with the aim of developing male contraception in France

Authors Heating Nb a Effect on sperm number
Method Daily duration Frequency During heating After heating
Period w b Mean value Start w Max. value
High elevation of whole body temperature
MacLeod & Hotchkiss 1941 [79] Steam cubicle at 43 °C 45 min OAT c 41 °C Once 6 w 3–9 50% d w 11 130% e w 15
Procope 1965 [84] Sauna 77–90 °C 15 min RAT f +1 °C 8 times in 2 weeks 12 w 3–6 60% w 8 NDA g
Brown-Woodman et al. 1984 [85] Sauna 84 °C 20 min RAT +0.7 °C Once 5 w 1–4 75% w 8 NDA
High-intensity scrotal heating
Watanabe 1959 [80] Scrota in water bath at 44–46 °C 30 min 1 day 5 w 5–10 70% w 11 158% e w 15
2 days 4 w 2–10 45% w 13 NR h
3 days 6 w 3–10 41% w 11 NR
6 days 3 w 3–11 47% w 12 190% e w 14
12 days 5 w 5–12 42% w 13 300% e w 16
Every 2 days for 12 days 4 w 5–11 56% w 9 240% e w 16
Rock & Robinson 1965 [82] 150 watt lamp at 8 cm; 42 °C 30 min 14 days 4 w 4–8 63% w 9 177% e w 14
28 days 3 w 3–9 57% NDA NDA
Wang et al. 2007 [86]; Zhu et al. 2010 [87] Scrota in water bath at 43 °C 30 min 6 days 18 w 3 w 6 (SC) i 56% j 26% w 9 w 12 (SC) 44% j 109%
Rao et al. 2015 [88] Lower half body in bathtub at 43 °C 30 min Every day for 10 days 10 w 4 <5 M/ml 4/10 w 6 (SC) 52% 30% w8 (SC) w14 106%
Every 3 days for 30 days 10 w 6 <5 M/ml 4/10 w 8 28% 12% w10 w16 102%
  1. Legend: a Nb number of men, b w weeks, c OAT oral achieved temperature, d mean value of total sperm number/initial total sperm number (%), e maximal value of total sperm number/initial total sperm number (%), f RAT rectal achieved temperature, g NDA no data available, h NR not reported, i SC sperm count, j maximal value of sperm count/initial sperm count (%)