Wikipedia has a great article on Monorchidism. It's a clinical read, and gives the basics. The far more interesting text below has been contributed by and is © Sahypo
Monorchidism is taken from the Greek and literally means Mono - (One) Orkidismo - (Testicle). This is not the same as having Cryptorchidism, which refers to testicles that are missing, or that one is unable to see or feel in the scrotum. When you have received a diagnosis of Monorchidism, the fact that you have only one testicle has been confirmed.
You might be monorchid for any number of reasons, which could include prenatal atrophy (death) of the testicle in utero, which means you were born this way. Accidents, Testicular cancer, or infection with mumps in childhood can cause loss of a testicle as well.
These are dry definitions you can read on hundreds of sites on the internet; you are probably here wondering if you are like others similarly situated, and how does what you feel compare to their experiences?
I was born with one testicle, which was confirmed by an exploratory laparoscopy when I was five years old.
I was aware from an early age that most males have two balls, and that made me the odd one out. Often in my youth I felt like I was impersonating a "real" male to the outside world, and carrying a dark secret. No one in those days discussed things like this openly, the way they are now. It was a frustrating and isolating experience.
As I grew older, I found out that there were others, and that many of us put this issue in our lives in the background and learn to live with feeling different. It can be a struggle, as there are a lot of reminders in daily life that don't let us forget . For some, a testicle prosthesis can bring some peace of mind, and if that is what it takes to make you feel a bit more normal, then choosing one is a good decision. It also helps to accept that you will probably never stop feeling different, but that is okay and expected, and most important of all, you learn to manage this in your life, rather than obsess or dwell on it, or allow this to place limitations on your life, such as avoidance of sexual intimacy.
Some of the things a monorchid boy, (or man) may be struggling with could include;
Am I still a man?
Without question, yes. Testicles are only available as standard equipment in males! The lack of a mate for your lone ranger might make you feel inadequate, but testosterone levels are usually normal for us, and we shave, have erections and sexual function just like other males. If you lost a testicle, that doesn't change who you are, and if you were born with a single testicle, you were always "as male" as anyone else of our gender.
Am I fertile?
For those of you who contemplate family in your future, the bottom line is that there is no
statistical evidence showing that monorchid males are any less fertile than those who are not. I had the same concerns as a youngster of 14, due to some very stupid specialists who told my mother I was sterile without any doubt (because that was what used to be taught in the medical schools). It was a very kind and wise country doctor who advised me not to rely on monorchidism as a form of birth control, or I would likely be the second one to know that my partner was pregnant. I would give the same advice to any person in the same situation; unless you are tested and know for a fact that you are sterile, the overwhelming odds are that you are capable of reproduction. My own children are a testament to the fact that the "experts' CAN be wrong
Will I appeal to a partner like this?
Let me say this, Yes, there might those who would reject or ridicule you for having a missing testicle. Just as the standard for what constitutes being "a man" or "a woman" should be the maturity and character of a person, then let them be judged as such by the way they treat their fellow man. If you choose to be with those for whom such things as the number of testicles is an issue, that's on you for setting up a situation doomed to failure and pain. I choose not to associate with those who fall into that classification. Most people are understanding and compassionate and will not find your missing gland worthy of concern. .
If you choose, it can add interest to your sex life. I once dated a lady who liked to "search" for my lone testicle's partner, turning my condition into an opportunity for more variety in foreplay. Remember that your partner will never be as emotionally invested in this issue as you might be.
What about cancer?
If you were born monorchid, you have a slightly increased risk of testicular cancer, in general.
People who are monorchid because they have had a non-viable testicle removed (Orchiectomy), and those who have two testicles BUT had one undescended testicle brought down into the scrotum (Orchidopexy) will have an equally slight increase in the risk of cancer, for the non-affected testicle.
If you had two undescended testicles moved to the scrotum the risk of testicular cancer increases further.
All men and boys should practice testicular self examination, and be taught to say something quick if they ever experience pain in a testicle, or notice a change in the size or surface of the testicle(s). Testicular cancer is easily treated and beaten if caught early, however it remains the most prevalent form of cancer in men in the 15 to 25 age range. Testicular self examination is easy, and saves lives. Learn it, and tell those you love about it as well.
Those who wish to learn more about monorchidism or testicular self examination may contact Sahypo at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the UK surgeons who need to remove a testicle usually offer a prosthesis so that the scrotum looks and feels the same as one with a pair of real testicles.