Alternate Names : Vanishing testes – anorchia, Empty scrotum – anorchia, Scrotum – empty (anorchia)
Anorchia is the absence of both testes at birth.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
In the first several weeks after the egg is fertilized, the embryo develops early sex organs. In the male, if the early testes fail to develop before 8 weeks into the pregnancy, the baby will have female genitals.
If the testes are lost between 8 and 10 weeks, the baby will be born with ambiguous genitalia. This means the child will have parts of both male and female genitals.
However, if the testes are lost after the time when the male genitals differentiate (between 12 and 14 weeks), the baby will have normal male genitals (penis and scrotum), but no testes. This is known as congenital anorchia, or the “vanishing testes syndrome.”
The cause is unknown, but in some cases there are genetic factors.
Pictures & Images
Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive system
The male reproductive system, viewed from a sagittal section.
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.