PUBLISHED: 13:17 GMT, 5 November 2012 | UPDATED: 14:59 GMT, 5 November 2012

A couple who struggled to have a baby were stunned when doctors said their laptop was to blame.

Scott Reed was told having the appliance on his lap had caused heat damage to his sperm.

And, as a result, the 30-year-old electrician and his wife, Laura, also 30, were finding it harder to conceive.

Mr Reed started using his laptop on a table instead and three months later Mrs Reed became pregnant with baby daughter Taryn.

Scott and his wife Laura were delighted when they have baby Taryn after discovering a hot laptop could be stopping them from conceiving

Mrs Reed said: ‘I’ve never heard of this happening before, when the doctors told us it was a real shock.

‘Scott would use his laptop in the evenings for a couple of hours on and off while we were watching television.

‘He would use it for work and general things like Facebook. We had absolutely no idea the damage it was causing him.’

The couple, from Clanfield in Hampshire, visited their GP after trying for a baby for six months without success.

Initially it was thought Mr Reed’s fertility had been affected by mumps – which he had suffered with at the age of 21.

Mrs Reed, a pathologist, said: ‘About six months after we started trying I was getting frustrated and mentioned it to my doctor.

‘You don’t think it will be that hard to get pregnant. We both went back to have a chat and the doctor put Scott forward for a fertility test.’

Taryn Reed, 11 months

In October 2010 the couple were referred to the andrology department of the pathology unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

Mr Reed said: ‘Because I had the mumps I needed to get tested. We were concerned they would find something but then we wanted a baby so we had to find out.

‘I didn’t think about the worst-case scenario and just had to get on with it.’

Tests revealed Mr Reed was producing a healthy amount of sperm but they had suffered heat damage.

Under the microscope it was possible to see that the tail of the sperm had coiled around the head, meaning it couldn’t swim quickly to the egg.

The problem is common in chefs – who work in hot environments – but can also be caused by laptop computers.

Mr Reed said: ‘I never thought using a laptop would affect the quality of my sperm. After asking if I was a chef, the next thing was ‘do you use a laptop?’

‘I was using it daily and hadn’t given it a second thought. It was quite shocking really.’

After that Mr Reed made sure he placed his laptop either beside him or on a table.

Mrs Reed said: ‘We carried on trying and we weren’t having any luck. We thought it wasn’t going to happen so we started planning a trip to travel around Thailand. But then I did a test and found out I was expecting.’

Taryn, now 10 months, was born on December 8 last year.

Proud parent Mr Reed is now encouraging more men to be aware of the dangers of laptops – and not to be shy if they think there might be a problem with fertility.

He said: ‘Generally men clam up and don’t want to talk about anything to do with genitals. Don’t be scared of going through the process. I wanted children and so I got tested.’

Scott had been using his computer on his lap for a few hours each evening. Doctors said it caused his sperm to coil up, making it difficult for them to swim

Biomedical andrologist Sue Kenworthy, from Queen Alexandra Hospital, confirmed the heat of the laptop can have an effect on sperm.

She said: ‘Scott had been producing a healthy amount of sperm but looking under a microscope I saw that there was heat damage.

‘Scott was using his laptop every day and for a few hours. It would get really hot, which would have an effect on his sperm.

‘This showed up under the microscope. The tail of the sperm had coiled around the head.

‘This means it can’t swim quickly and get to the egg. I would say men should place the laptop on a table, rather than on their lap, as this can make a difference.’