Undescended Testes



It is not always known why this happens. It is thought to be a problem with the way the testicles develop.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Low birth weight
  • Being born too early
  • A family history of undescended testicles
  • Klinefelter syndrome or other chromosomal problems
  • Factors in the mother during pregnancy, such as:
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Gestational diabetes mellitus
    • High levels of alpha-fetoprotein



The main symptom is not being able to see or feel the testicle.


You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the testicles. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may need to be taken to locate the testicle. This can be done with ultrasound or laparoscopy.



Treatment is needed to avoid problems, such as infertility and testicular cancer.

Choices are:

  • Waiting for the testicle to descend on its own
  • Surgery to move the testicle down and stitch it into place
  • Hormone therapy (not common)


There are no current guidelines to prevent this problem.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.