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The UK NSC policy on Cryptorchidism screening in newborn boys


Type Newborn
Last review completed n/a
Next review due in 2014/15
Policy recommendation     Systematic population screening programme recommended

Detection of delayed descent of the testicles forms part of the routine physical examination of all newborn baby boys and again at 6-8 weeks.

A Programme Centre has been set up in England and all aspects of the examination are being reviewed.


What is screening?

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition. They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition. It is important to ensure that the benefits and downsides of screening have been properly thought through. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is responsible for reviewing screening policies every 3 years and making recommendations to ministers in the 4 UK countries about whether to not a screening programme for a certain condition should be set up.

» Find out more about screening, the role of the UK NSC or the policy review process

More about Cryptorchidism

While in the womb, male babies' testicles develop in their abdomen. Towards the end of pregnancy, the testicles travel down into the scrotum. Both testicles should be in the scrotum by the time the child is one year old and if this is not the case, the testicles are described as being ‘undescended’ (this is also known as cryptorchidism).

This is most common in premature babies and around one in 20 male babies is born with an undescended testicle. The incidence at the age of one year is around 1%.

» Read more about undescended testes on NHS Choices

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.

Policy stakeholders

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the policy is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More about the policy review process, including the role of stakeholders, can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's policy review process.

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