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When the family jewels are more like a solitaire.

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Krystle asks:

I have been with my boyfriend for 6 months, and I recently noticed that he was missing a "family jewel." Out of curiosity, I asked him why. He explained that when he was a child, it would slip back into his body; therefore, it was removed to stop the discomfort. It doesn't bother me. I just wanted to know if this would affect our ability to have children?

Susie replies:

It's really important to remove a testis (family jewel) if it won't stay descended. Many studies have shown that men who have a problem with undescended testes as children are at significant risk of developing testicular cancer later in life. Testicular cancer (the cancer that afflicted Lance Armstrong and Tom Green) is the most common cancer among men ages 16 to 35.

In your guy's case, the testis' tendency to "retreat" was causing him pain. It could also have put him at risk of a hernia. That pain may have even been a hernia. Will it affect his fertility? Assuming his other testis is in good shape, then no. Guys can make babies just fine with only one testis.

While the issue doesn't seem to faze either of you, for other guys in the audience, if the appearance of having only one testis bothers you, you have the option of getting a silicone testicular implant.

And guys, check your balls on a regular basis. If you feel any hard lumps where they shouldn't be, see your doctor right away!

For info about male sexual health, check out: Sexual Health 101: His

And for more info on testicular cancer, check out MedLine Plus.

written 30 Mar 2008 . updated 30 Mar 2008

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