What increases the risk for undescended testicles

Although the exact cause is not known, several factors increase a baby boy's chances of being born with an undescended testicle:1

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth (because the testicles normally complete their descent just before birth)
  • Being a twin
  • Family history
  • Complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, breech birth, or delivery by cesarean section

A newborn boy's risk of having an undescended testicle may also increase if his mother was exposed to certain drugs or toxins while she was pregnant, such as anabolic steroids.


  1. Schneck FX, Bellinger MF (2007). Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management. In AJ Wein, ed., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 9th ed., vol. 4, pp. 3761–3798. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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