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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Mar;62(3):532-5.

Onset of the release of spermatozoa (spermarche) in boys in relation to age, testicular growth, pubic hair, and height.


The onset of production of spermatozoa (spermarche) is the basis for achievement of reproductive capacity in men. We collected 24-h urine samples every 3 months in a 7-yr longitudinal study of 40 normal boys initially aged 8.6-11.7 yr. After centrifugation, the urine was analyzed for the presence of spermatozoa by microscopic examination, and spermarche was estimated on the basis of age at first observed spermaturia. The results were corrected for the intermittent occurrence of spermatozoa in the urine after first observed spermaturia and the fact that the urine samples were collected quarterly. In addition, physical examination, including determination of testicular size by orchidometer measurement, pubic hair distribution (Tanner stage), and height, was carried out every 6 months. Spermarche occurred at a median age of 13.4 yr (range, 11.7-15.3 yr), at a time when testicular size was 4.7-19.6 ml (median, 11.5 ml), and pubic hair distribution was 1-5 (median, 2.5). In most boys, spermarche preceded the age of peak height velocity (median, 13.8 yr; range, 12.2-15.2 yr); at the time of spermarche, median peak height growth velocity was 9.9 cm/yr (range, 7.5-13.4 cm/yr), and median height was 160.4 cm (range, 151.7-175.9 cm). We conclude that spermarche is an early pubertal event and that a wide variation in testicular size and secondary sex characteristics is found at that time. In particular, spermarche may occur when little or no pubic hair has developed, and the testes have grown only slightly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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