When girls are born, they have all the eggs they are ever going to have in their ovaries.
This is a totally different story for boys.
When your son was born, there were tiny cells in his testicles that were waiting to be awakened during puberty and start producing an endless number of sperm. In this illustration, notice that sperm is made in tiny tubes, called seminiferous tubules, inside his testicles.
During puberty, testosterone helps get sperm production going and when the testicles are fully mature, they will produce about 1000 sperm per second. This process continues into old age.
Changes in Temperature
Testicles are protected inside a sac of skin called the scrotum. The scrotum provides a great environment for the developing sperm because the process of sperm formation is very temperature sensitive. If the testicles were located inside the pelvis, like the ovaries are in girls, it would be too warm for them.
Even though the testicles are outside the pelvis in the scrotum, the changing temperature of the scrotum can also present problems for the developing sperm. If the temperature of the scrotum becomes too warm, tiny muscles inside relax and let the scrotum hang lower away from the body. This will cool down the testicles. If the temperature inside the scrotum becomes too cold, those same little muscles contract and pull the testicles closer to the body to keep the testicles warm. When this happens, your son will notice that the scrotum becomes tight and wrinkled.
Susceptible to Injury
The testicles also must be protected from injury. Because the scrotum is just a sack of skin, it does not provide great protection. There are lots of nerves in the wall of the scrotum to warn boys when an injury happens. Most boys know that it really hurts if they are hit in the scrotum and they can even feel a little nauseous. It is a good idea for boys who have entered puberty to start wearing an athletic supporter, also known as a jockstrap, to provide extra protection for the testicles. Sometimes an additional hard plastic cup can be inserted for extra protection if your son plays collision or contact sports where there is more risk of him taking a blow to the area.
Information about the testicles and how to protect them is important for our sons to know so they can take good care of their bodies as they mature. Just imagine, 1000 sperm per second! There is a lot going on in the testicles and they deserve special care.
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