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Health & Wellness

What Happens When Your Baby is Born With Undescended Testicles?

One of the main things I remember from my days in hospital when the boys were born, was Lewi having an examination that made Dave and myself feel quite uncomfortable.  It wasn’t explained to us that the consultants were looking for his undescended testicles.

Two consultants came to my hospital bed, saying they wanted to examine Lewi.  They didn’t offer any further explanation, and just proceeded to do a series of, what looked like quite firm, examinations of our newborn sons scrotum and general crotch area.

It wasn’t until later on that we discovered why.

Bilateral Cryptorchidism – The Medical Term for Two Undescended Testicles

The consultant told us that Lewi had bilateral cryptorchidism – two undescended testicles (there’s also unilateral, where just one has not descended).  They explained how common it is:

  • 1 in 25 boys are born with undescended testicles
  • In most cases the testicles move down into place within the first three to six months
  • 1 in 100 boys will need treatment

Of course, none of these facts help at the time – you don’t care about anyone else but your own baby.  We were very concerned, and very worried.  Our consultant told us that they would monitor Lewi, regularly checking his development until he was one.  At that point, if he still had undescended testicles then he would need to have surgery.

What Happens When Your Baby is Born With Undescended Testicles?

SURGERY???

He explained to us that left untreated, Lewi could have fertility problems later in life, and an increased risk of developing testicular cancer!  Is there anything worse for a parent to hear, about their child?  We were heartbroken.

We hated the thought of our baby having surgery, and we were devastated at the thought of him being infertile or having cancer.

And so it was, at one year old we had to begin the process of him having surgery.  His testicles hadn’t appeared where they were meant to be.  One was still palpable, but stuck too far up, and one where no where to be seen.

It Was Such a Scary Time

The operation he’d need, an orchidopexy, was booked in.  There were a few meetings with the consultant prior to the operation, and scans and x-rays etc.  They were concerned that the one testicle that they could feel (the palpable one stuck too high), was twisted.  They couldn’t determine the severity of the twist, until they operated.  But at worst it could mean losing that testicle altogether.

No matter how many professionals tell you that it’s a perfectly routine operation, with a great success rate, you still don’t believe them.  You just think the worst.  Our son has undescended testicles and there’s a chance he’ll be infertile and get testicular cancer.

That’s all we could think.

Surgery Day

It was a day surgery job, so we’d be in and out on the same day.  We went to the ward, which we’d had a tour of previously, so we’d know what to expect – but it was still pretty scary.

My mum was looking after Ollie at home, so he was fine and none the wiser as to what the rest of us were doing.  But Lewi, bless him, was quite confused.  We were shown to his bed on the ward.  Thankfully he wouldn’t need to stay in his bed the whole time, as there was a very well equipped play room.

Thank goodness – what a life saver the play room was.  There was so much for Lewi to play with and do, and that was a huge relief.  Now it was just the waiting game for me and Dave.

Time For Your Operation My Baby

Oh man.  This has me tearing up just remembering.

Dave carried Lewi to see the anaesthetist, and I took him into the room.  Lewi cried most of the way there.

My Baby Had Undescended Testicles

I was told to hold him tightly on my lap, and remain calm and soothing for him.  Not a chance!

I tried my best but I couldn’t hold back the tears.  We were both crying as they put the mask over his mouth and nose, and as I tried my best to offer motherly reassurance, I slowly watched him go into a resistant sleep.

I was devastated.  I gave him kisses and told him I’d see him really soon, and then they took him off for his operation.  He was only having a small operation for his undescended testicles, but every operation has risks – and those risks wouldn’t leave my thoughts.

Back From The Operation

Around an hour and a half later, our baby was brought back to us.  He was outters, and he remained outters for about another five hours!  He woke a couple of times, very hazy.  We’d give him a bit of drink and he’d go back into a deep sleep.

The operation had been a success, and they had managed to save his twisted testicle too.

Dave had gone home to be with Ollie after a couple of hours, as he’d been without mummy, daddy and Lewi all day and lots of the evening.  So my mum then joined me at the hospital.

I’d been lying in the bed with Lewi, cuddling him the whole time, and I was so glad when the consultant told me I could take my baby home.

Recovery

We were told that Lewi would be sore for a while, and he should avoid any sit on toys, and rough play.  THAT, is something quite unavoidable with boisterous twin boys!

Ollie didn’t undertand when we were telling him to be gentle with Lewi, and Lewi didn’t really understand why either.  They were only one after all.  Luckily for us, Lewi seemed quite unphased by being jumped on and pushed over – typical play for these two.

He recovered really well, and the two incisions healed nicely.  The first day following the operation Lewi was a bit more sleepy than normal, and wanted to cuddle more, but after that he was just fine.

He was back to himself, and normal activity really quickly, though of course we took extra care of him for a while after.  You have to really look after the incisions and stitches, which were dissolvable ones thankfully.


If you have found yourself in this same situation, then I really hope that stumbling upon this post during your incessant Google searching (which we all do!) has really helped you to understand what happens next.

Please do get in touch with me in the comments if you have anything you want to ask me about it.

Thanks,

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