Organ donations are important, I know, but, uh, can someone donate a testicle? And if so, where would they donate it to, and what the hell for?
“No,” says urologist and sexual health doctor Joshua Gonzalez, emphatically. “They don’t even do testicular transplants — that’s not a thing. Even for guys who were in war and got their balls blown off or something like that, they don’t give you someone else’s testicle, or your brother’s testicle, or anything like that.”
Now, this isn’t because testicular donation isn’t possible — in fact, doing so would allow a recipient to forego hormone replacement therapy — but rather, it’s a matter of ethics. As The Verge explains, “Transplanted testicles will always make the donor’s sperm,” and since a donor would most likely be deceased, creating his genetic offspring without his consent is ethically questionable at best.
Ethical issues aside, Gonzalez says that there’s no real scientific or medical reason to donate a ball, either. “It’s not like the brain, where there’s still a lot of things that aren’t understood about how it works,” Gonzalez explains. “The testicles are pretty much understood.” Even Mark Parisi — who made headlines in 2013 because he was going to get $35,000 for removing a testicle — wasn’t getting that 35K for donating his ball: Instead, the study he was involved with was willing to pay him to try out a prosthetic testicle. As for his ball, that probably would’ve just been tossed in the trash (I say “probably” because ultimately, the trial didn’t go through — as Parisi explained last year, they couldn’t find enough participants. Who’d have thought?)
The only time a removed testicle might be of use is if it had testicular cancer. Gonzalez says that doctors would examine the removed testicle to study the cancer, “but that’s not really a donation.” Indeed, it seems that testicular cancer is just about the only reason a testicle would be of interest, as First Quarter Finance explains: “The closest any study comes to involving testicle donations is The Testicular Cancer Resource Center, that is looking for participants for their studies who have either had testicular cancer themselves or who have more than one family member diagnosed with the disease.”
Honestly, there’s just nothing left to know about balls. Still, in a desperation move, I asked Gonzalez, “If I died and donated my body to science, would they even look at my testicles?”
“No,” he replied simply. “They just aren’t that interesting.”
Well, now I’m insulted. And so are my balls.