An allegation Wednesday morning that accused teen star Justin Bieber of impregnating a 20-year-old raised a question from my son: How young can a boy be to father a child?
The answer is, very simply, that a male child as young as 10 can get a female pregnant.
And at 16, which is how old Bieber was when the encounter allegedly happened, he would have actually been at a prime age to produce a child.
The story comes on the heels of recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control claiming that teen pregnancies are at a record low, decreasing by 37 percent over the past two decades, and teen condom use is at a record high.
However, you still have to take into account basic biology—when a boy is born, his entire reproductive system is already in place. All that’s needed to start reproducing is puberty, which for the average boy begins between the ages of 10 and 14.
Puberty happens when a chain of hormonal events in a person’s body occur, starting in the brain.
First, in the brain, the pituitary gland stimulates the testicles in the scrotum. The testicles then begin to produce testosterone, which is the male hormone that is responsible for producing sperm.
All of this magic begins as early as the age of 10. When you look at sperm count of a 10-year-old, the sperm is immature, and the count is low.
But, remember, it only takes one.
However, as the male grows older, by the age of 14 to 16, he is probably making an average of 500 million sperm.
So how young is too young? Well, my friends, you see the numbers. Have the conversation with your children. Perhaps Bieber’s story could help you explain.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.