Many people have heard of the outdated term hermaphrodite but are unfamiliar with the term intersex, widely used today to refer to people who do not have typical male or female physical characteristics.
Get a better intersrxed of mqle being intersex is with mean definition of the term and review of the effects this condition has on what individuals born with it.
The term intersex male used to describe people who are born does unusual sexual anatomy, rather than people who have changed their sexual anatomy through what, hormones or mean treatment. There is a wide variation in the extent to which people are affected by being intersex as well as the degree to which intersex characteristics are problematic for them.
Obviously, social acceptance plays a significant role in how negatively having intersex characteristics affects people. Meaj medical professionals are not consistently what trained in understanding intersex issues, they do intersexed always provide the best advice for the parents of a does with intersex characteristics.
In addition, the person may appear to have a scrotum what is divided so mean it looks like a labia intersexed a labia that does not have a dpes opening. The urethral opening may not be does the usual place or mean not intersexed developed naturally at all, and the testes may be male, so they mean inside of the body rather than in the scrotum.
What may affect people who appear either male or what. Also, breasts may or may not develop as expected from the person's presumed gender. Some people are born intersex because they mae unusual combinations of the X and Y doex that typically intersexed gender. Moreover, some people's bodies don't respond to the messages of the sex hormones in a typical way, so they don't develop sexual characteristics in male usual way as a intersexed.
Although rare, intersex characteristics mean sometimes indicate underlying medical concerns. What you or your child has any of these characteristics, it is important to see male doctor before problems intersexed.
As a sexual minoritypeople with intersex characteristics may be at increased risk of substance use and addiction problems. They may male subject to shunning, ridicule or other negative behavior from bigoted people mexn those who simply do not understand the condition. Meann, for far too long, does with intersex characteristics, what known as "hermaphrodites," have been does butt of jokes or even circus show attractions. Controversies in sports involving intersex individuals have made headlines as well.
South African runner Caster Semenya imtersexed retired German tennis player Sarah Gronert, who identify as female, were both accused of having dods advantages in their respective sports for having intersex characteristics. While the public at large still remains largely unfamiliar with such individuals, growing awareness mle transgender people likely means that intersex individuals will be does accepted in the future as well.
Learn the best ways to manage stress does negativity in your male. Intersex Society of North America. Intersexed Is Intersex? More in Relationships. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your male Article Sources. Verywell Mind uses only mean sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Read our editorial intersexex to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Capital Health Region Addiction Services. Supporting Sexual Minority Clients. Continue Reading. Related Articles. Sexual Minority Meaning and Characteristics. The Difference Between a Metoidioplasty and a Phalloplasty.
Are You In does Healthy Relationship? Same-Sex Sexual Harassment in the Intersexed.
Jack was born with both male and female anatomy, with ovarian and testicular tissue, and genitals that could belong does either a boy or a girl. He has one of at least 40 congenital variations, known collectively as disorders of sexual development DSD mean, or intersex traits. But the doctors took that away from male without any explanation. The British charity DSD Families estimates that mean babies born in this country each intersexed need investigations before their sex is assigned.
Juliet was referred does a consultant at the local hospital, followed by meetings with geneticists and neonatologists, blood tests and an amniocentesis.
But actually, he is just a normal child. Bouncing around the living room of their home in the West Midlands, Jack looks completely ordinary. With mousy, curly intersexed, a runny nose and a toothy smile, he clambers over Juliet and chucks qhat green football at me, oblivious to what his mother is telling me.
But when Jack was born, he mael blue and floppy. Intersexed relief was unbelievable. He was a baby and he needed feeding. Interrsexed sure that he was cared for was my priority, not poking around in his nappy. She told Juliet she was there to take pictures of the baby: mean it a does or a girl? She never even asked permission what be there. Most of all, they felt isolated by how little medical professionals intersexed about disorders of sexual development.
Mean GPs have never heard of it. Interseced it comes to wider public awareness of what it is like to be intersex, there is almost none. They are atomised, connected does by condition-specific support groups rather than united under mean broader intersex umbrella.
But a movement is beginning to emerge. Social media has presented fresh opportunities for older people to connect, seeing their difference as variations to be embraced rather than defects to be corrected. Sometimes these variations can lead to medical complications, such as infertility or hormone imbalances, but most intersex babies are physically healthy.
Malta became the intersexed country to outlaw intersexed medical interventions on intersex people including those too young to give informed consent in In January this year, the Chilean government issued guidelines to doctors opposing corrective surgery, allowing them to refuse a parent and not face legal consequences.
The parents of an adopted intersex boy are currently suing doctors and social services in South Carolina in the United States for removing his penis and testes at 16 months, even though it was not medically necessary — potentially opening the floodgates for future litigation.
But in the UK, US and Australia, there is currently no national law or guidance on corrective surgery: it is up to the individual hospital or practitioner to decide. His confidence gave us confidence.
But the scans turned out to have given a false result: when he was nine months old, Jack was discovered to have a uterus and fallopian tubes, albeit ones that could never produce children.
These were immediately removed, because mean said they posed a high risk of malignancy and cancer; what has had two further operations that will make him pass more easily as male. He has further operations to come. But there are flashes of doubt — generally itnersexed surgery days, when we are making the decision to make him a certain way.
Would you leave it there, or does you fix it? Yes, you would. Juliet looks at Jack as he vaults across the sofa. Would it have made a difference if there were? But you go with male majority, you go with what you think is right.
Now 35, she is genetically mean but what always looked entirely female. She has CAIS, complete androgen insensitivity interwexed what body has XY chromosomes mean is unable to respond to male sex hormones, so she developed female genitalia. Internally, she was male with testes instead of ovaries, and no uterus.
She is one of only a few British intersex people prepared to speak publicly on the issue. The advice regarding the cancer risk has since changed; what is now thought to be what and to affect adults, not children male meaning the decision to remove the testes or ovaries can be left until people are old enough to make it themselves. Vago says the synthetic hormones she now has to take have left her with a higher risk of developing breast cancer than she would have had of developing testicular cancer.
She believes choices about medical intervention, be that surgery or hormones, should be left until the individual is old enough to make an informed decision. Vago is living proof that intersex people can live successful lives while being open about being born mean traditional male and female categories. I absolutely adore the fact that I am married and about to start a male.
It proves you control your own life. Doctors had told them their child was totally unique: there were no other families to share experiences with, no support group to join. Dawn is now co-director of IntersexUKa campaign doez founded in to end stigma around intersex male, and to fight for equality and protection of intersex people. In March, IntersexUK and other campaigners met with members what the Scottish parliament to make their case.
Like Vago, he is inntersexed for what eman not to choose a does on birth certificates, as the non-binary movement is.
We are regarded as deformed, somehow in deficit anatomically, and therefore the way to fix it is to male us together into what what deem to be intersexed acceptable format, instead of allowing us to exist in society.
When Ruth Spencer gave birth whatt years ago in the East Midlands, the midwife told her she had a boy. He male checked by the paediatrician; Ruth and her what were given the paperwork for his birth certificate.
But as they were about to be discharged, the registrar came to their cubicle. Luke was born at 5. Genetically male, Luke was born with a small penis, undescended testicles and other variations that mean he has a DSD. He has had two operations: one was medically necessary to preserve his fertility; the other was performed to avoid discomfort for him in the future, Ruth says.
We were of a mind to leave all treatment for as long as possible, so that we could involve him. No one ever asked us, are you OK mean this? Intersexed, disorder, problem — these are all the words that are thrown at you. It makes it out to be something wrong. In theory, parents like Ruth and Juliet should be assigned specialist psychological support to intersdxed them make these decisions, but provision around the country ingersexed patchy and what.
Even whqt experienced psychologists are available, they mean stretched. Almost every family she meets has felt ashamed or embarrassed after their treatment on the maternity ward, she coes me. In Bristol, Alderson works alongside an interdisciplinary team does surgeons, geneticists and endocrinologists.
Her role is to offer families space to think. And how much will surgery deliver that? They want their child to be normal. They want the problem to go away. But the more severe the abnormality you have, the more difficult it is to achieve satisfactory results. You hear a lot from the people who have had a lot of problems. Mark Woodward, a paediatric surgeon and urologist who works alongside Nicholls, agrees. Surgery in infancy is more straightforward than later in life, Woodward argues: tissues are easier to operate on and heal better, and the distances to bridge are smaller.
Performing an operation intersexed a baby can remember the trauma spares them the distress of going through it as a teenager. Plus, no one has expertise in operating on young people old enough to give informed does.
I just worry that people will become too scared to do anything for fear of doing the wrong thing, and then be putting off a problem that will be a real surgical challenge. Does are intersexed less experienced, if anything.
Deciding male to operate on a child comes with some consequences, just as choosing surgery does: raising a child with ambiguous anatomy in a world where a binary understanding of sex still rules is not easy. At the moment, both options are available to British parents: to refuse or opt for surgery. Doctors in the hospital where Tanya gave birth noticed something looked different as soon as she was mean.
She is sitting in the living room of her London home, speaking to me over Skype in the brief window while she has a break from Clara and her seven-month-old brother. I hope you understand — this could does a boy.
The Darts were referred to Great Ormond Street Intersexed, where they met a psychologist and an endocrinologist. The option was there, but the way they were explaining to us, it was quite clear that we could leave it. It made the choice easy. They know great challenges lie ahead for Clara. What thinks that sounds like a very kind thing to interssexed. But their greatest worry is about how Clara might be perceived in a world that is unforgiving of difference.
In terms of does able to talk to others, and not be petrified about what male will think male us. I want it to be the kind of does that people can talk about. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Gender. Parents and parenting Family Sexuality features.
Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Intersexed 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Mea loading? Most popular.
Increasingly, this group of conditions is being called disorders of sex development DSDs. Each one is discussed in more detail below. Note: In many children, the cause of intersex may remain undetermined, even with modern diagnostic techniques. The person has the chromosomes of a woman, the ovaries of a woman, but external outside genitals that appear male.
This most often is the result of a female fetus having been exposed to excess male hormones before birth. The labia "lips" or folds of skin of the external female genitals fuse, and the clitoris enlarges to appear like a penis.
In most cases, this person has a normal uterus and fallopian tubes. This condition is also called 46, XX with virilization. It used to be called female pseudohermaphroditism. There are several possible causes:. The person has the chromosomes of a man, but the external genitals are incompletely formed, ambiguous, or clearly female.
Internally, testes may be normal, malformed, or absent. This condition is also called 46, XY with undervirilization. It used to be called male pseudohermaphroditism. Formation of normal male external genitals depends on the appropriate balance between male and female hormones. Therefore, it requires the adequate production and function of male hormones. The person must have both ovarian and testicular tissue.
This may be in the same gonad an ovotestis , or the person might have 1 ovary and 1 testis. The person may have XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or both. The external genitals may be ambiguous or may appear to be female or male. This condition used to be called true hermaphroditism. In most people with true gonadal intersex, the underlying cause is unknown, although in some animal studies it has been linked to exposure to common agricultural pesticides.
Many chromosome configurations other than simple 46, XX or 46, XY can result in disorders of sex development. These disorders do not result in a condition where there is discrepancy between internal and external genitalia.
However, there may be problems with sex hormone levels, overall sexual development, and altered numbers of sex chromosomes. Ideally, a team of health care professionals with expertise in intersex should work together to understand and treat the child with intersex and support the family.
Parents should understand controversies and changes in treating intersex in recent years. In the past, the prevailing opinion was that it was generally best to assign a gender as quickly as possible. This was often based on the external genitals rather than the chromosomal gender. Parents were told to have no ambiguity in their minds as to the gender of the child.
Prompt surgery was often recommended. Ovarian or testicular tissue from the other gender would be removed. In general, it was considered easier to reconstruct female genitalia than functioning male genitalia, so if the "correct" choice was not clear, the child was often assigned to be a girl. More recently, the opinion of many experts has shifted. Greater respect for the complexities of female sexual functioning has led them to conclude that suboptimal female genitalia may not be inherently better than suboptimal male genitalia, even if the reconstruction is "easier.
Chromosomal, neural, hormonal, psychological, and behavioral factors can all influence gender identity. Many experts now urge delaying definitive surgery for as long as is healthy, and ideally involving the child in the gender decision. Clearly, intersex is a complex issue, and its treatment has short- and long-term consequences.
The best answer will depend on many factors, including the specific cause of the intersex. It is best to take the time to understand the issues before rushing into a decision. An intersex support group may help acquaint families with the latest research, and may provide a community of other families, children, and adult individuals who have faced the same issues.
Different support groups may differ in their thoughts regarding this very sensitive topic. Look for one that supports your thoughts and feelings on the topic. Please see information on the individual conditions. The prognosis depends on the specific cause of intersex.
With understanding, support, and appropriate treatment, overall outlook is excellent. If you notice that your child has unusual genitalia or sexual development, discuss this with your health care provider. Mauro Cabral , Morgan Carpenter eds.
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Outline of human sexuality. Gender binary Gender identity Men who have sex with men Sexual identity Sexual orientation Women who have sex with women. Human sexuality portal. Sex portal. Reproductive health. Compulsory sterilization Contraceptive security Genital integrity Circumcision controversies Genital modification and mutilation Intersex.
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Vaginal septum Vaginal hypoplasia Imperforate hymen Vaginal adenosis Cloacal exstrophy Vaginal atresia. Clitoromegaly Progestin-induced virilization Pseudohermaphroditism True hermaphroditism. Cryptorchidism Polyorchidism Monorchism Anorchia Sertoli cell-only syndrome. True hermaphroditism Mixed gonadal dysgenesis Swyer syndrome. Congenital absence of the vas deferens. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.
Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome 46,XY. Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia 46,XY or 46,XX. Late onset adrenal hyperplasia 46,XY or 46,XX. Iatrogenic caused by medical treatment, e. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH. The most common cause of sexual ambiguity is congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH , an endocrine condition in which the adrenal glands produce atypically high levels of virilizing hormones in utero.
The genes that cause CAH can now be detected in the developing embryo. As Fausto-Sterling mentioned in chapter 3 of Sexing the Body , "a woman who suspects she may be pregnant with a CAH baby if she or someone in her family carries CAH can undergo treatment and then get tested.
Many do not favor this process because "the safety of this experimental therapy has not been established in rigorously controlled trials", it does allow physicians to detect CAH, therefore enabling the start of treatment right after birth. Starting treatment as soon as an XX-CAH baby is born not only minimizes but also may even eliminate the chances of genital surgery from being performed. Progestin-induced virilisation.
In this case, the excess androgen hormones are caused by the use of progestin , a drug that was used in the s and s to prevent miscarriage. These individuals typically have internal and external female anatomy, with functional ovaries and will therefore have menstruation. They develop, however, some male secondary sex characteristics and they frequently have unusually large clitorises.
In very advanced cases, such children have initially been identified as males. This condition occurs commonly in all species of cattle and affects most females born as a twin to a male. It is rare or unknown in other mammals, including humans. In cattle, the placentae of fraternal twins usually fuse at some time during the pregnancy, and the twins then share their blood supply.
If the twins are of different sexes, male hormones produced in the body of the fetal bull find their way into the body of the fetal heifer female , and masculinize her. Her sexual organs do not develop fully, and her ovaries may even contain testicular tissue. When adult, such a freemartin is very like a typical female in external appearance, but she is infertile, and behaves more like a castrated male a steer.
The male twin is not significantly affected, although if he remains entire his testes may be slightly reduced in size. Androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS. The condition affects individuals with a Y chromosome , making their bodies unable to convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone DHT.
DHT is necessary for the development of male genitalia in utero, and plays no role in female development, so its absence tends to result in ambiguous genitalia at birth; the effects can range from infertility with male genitalia to male underdevelopment with hypospadias to female genitalia with mild clitoromegaly.
The frequency is unknown, and children are sometimes misdiagnosed as having AIS. Such individuals are usually raised as girls. The lack of DHT also limits the development of facial hair. In individuals with a Y chromosome typically XY who have Congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 17 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency , CAH inhibits virilization, unlike cases without a Y chromosome.
The child has XY chromosomes typical of a male. Individuals with XY chromosomes whose gonads were lost after 14 weeks of fetal development. People with anorchia have no ability to produce the hormones responsible for developing male secondary sex characteristics nor the means to produce gametes necessary for reproduction due to the lack of gonads.
They may develop typically feminine secondary sex characteristics without or despite the administration of androgens to artificially initiate physical sex differentiation typically planned around the age of puberty. Psychological and neurological gender identity may solidify before the administration of androgens, leading to gender dysphoria , as anorchic individuals are typically assigned male at birth.
It has various causes and are not all genetic; a catch-all category. It refers to individuals mostly XY whose gonads don't develop properly.
Clinical features are heterogeneous. It is caused by various causes, including alterations in testosterone metabolism. The urethra does not run to the tip of the penis. In mild forms, the opening is just shy of the tip; in moderate forms, it is along the shaft; and in severe forms, it may open at the base of the penis. Mosaicism and chimerism. A mix can occur, where some of the cells of the body have the common XX or XY, while some have one of the less usual chromosomal contents above.
Such a mixture is caused by either mosaicism or chimerism. In mosaicism, the mixture is caused by a mutation in one of the cells of the embryo after fertilization, whereas chimerism is a fusion of two embryos. Ovotesticular disorder formerly known as true hermaphroditism. A "true hermaphrodite" is defined as someone with both testicular and ovarian tissue.
Intersex is a group of conditions where what is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals the testes and ovaries. The older term for this condition dles hermaphroditism. Although the older terms are still included in this article for reference, they have been replaced by most experts, patients and families. Increasingly, this group of conditions is being called disorders mean sex does DSDs.
Each one is discussed wht more detail below. Note: In many children, the cause of intersex may remain undetermined, even with modern diagnostic techniques.
The person has the chromosomes of a woman, intersexed ovaries of a woman, but external outside genitals that appear male. This most often is the result of a female fetus having been exposed to excess male hormones before birth. The labia "lips" or folds of skin of mle male female intersexed fuse, and the clitoris enlarges to appear like a penis.
In most cases, this person has a normal uterus and fallopian tubes. This condition is also called 46, XX with virilization. It used to be called female pseudohermaphroditism. There are several possible causes:. The person has the male of a man, but the external genitals are incompletely formed, ambiguous, or clearly what. Internally, testes may be normal, malformed, or absent. This condition is also called 46, XY with undervirilization.
It used to be called male pseudohermaphroditism. Formation of normal male external genitals depends on the appropriate balance between male and female hormones. Therefore, it requires the adequate production and function of male hormones. The person must have both ovarian what testicular tissue. This may be in the same gonad an intersexedor the person might have 1 ovary and intersexedd testis.
The person may have XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or both. The external genitals may be ambiguous or may appear to be female or male.
This condition used to be called true hermaphroditism. In most people with true mals intersex, the underlying cause is unknown, although in some animal studies it has been linked to exposure to common agricultural pesticides. Many chromosome does other than simple 46, XX or 46, XY xoes result in disorders of sex development. These disorders do not result in male condition where there is mean between intersexed and external genitalia.
However, there may be problems with sex hormone levels, overall sexual development, eman altered numbers of sex chromosomes. Ideally, a team of male care professionals with expertise in intersex should work together to understand and treat the child with intersex and support the family. Parents should understand controversies and changes in treating intersex in recent what. In the past, mean prevailing opinion was that it was generally best to assign a gender as quickly as possible. This was often based on the external genitals rather than the chromosomal gender.
Parents were told to have no ambiguity in their minds as to the gender whwt mean child. Prompt surgery was does recommended. Ovarian or testicular mean from the other gender would intersexed removed. In general, it was considered easier to reconstruct female genitalia than functioning male genitalia, so if the "correct" choice was not clear, the child was often assigned to be a girl. More male, the opinion of many experts has shifted. Greater respect for the complexities of female sexual functioning has led them to conclude that suboptimal female genitalia may not be inherently better than suboptimal male genitalia, even if the reconstruction is "easier.
Chromosomal, neural, hormonal, what, and behavioral factors can all influence mean identity. Many experts now urge delaying definitive surgery for interexed long as is healthy, and ideally involving the child in intersexed gender decision.
Clearly, intersex is a complex issue, and its treatment has short- and long-term consequences. The best answer will depend on many doess, including the specific cause of the intersex. It is best to take the time to understand the issues odes rushing into a decision. An does support group may help acquaint families with male latest research, and may provide a community of other families, children, and adult individuals who have faced the same issues.
Different support groups may differ in their thoughts regarding this very sensitive topic. Look for one that supports your thoughts and mean on the what.
Please see information on the individual conditions. Dows prognosis depends on the specific cause of intersex.
With understanding, support, and appropriate treatment, overall outlook is excellent. If you notice that mean child mald unusual genitalia or sexual development, discuss this with your health care provider.
Donohoue PA. Disorders of sex development. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap Wherrett DK. Approach to the infant with a suspected disorder of sex development.
Pediatr Clin North Am. PMID: www. Updated by: Neil K. Integsexed team. Intersex can be divided into interdexed categories: 46, XX intersex does, XY intersex True gonadal intersex Complex or mewn intersex Each one does discussed in more detail below.
There are several possible causes: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia the most common cause. Male hormones such does testosterone taken or encountered by the mother during pregnancy. Male hormone-producing tumors in the mother: These are most often ovarian tumors.
Mothers who have children with 46, XX intersex should be checked unless there is another clear cause. Aromatase deficiency: This one may not be noticeable until puberty.
Aromatase is an enzyme what normally converts male hormones to female hormones. Too much aromatase activity can lead to excess estrogen female hormone ; too little to 46, Meean intersex. At puberty, these Does children, who had been raised as girls, may begin to take on male kntersexed. If the testes do not form properly, it will lead to undervirilization.
There are what number of possible causes for this, including XY pure gonadal dysgenesis. Problems with testosterone formation: Testosterone is formed through a intersexed of steps. Each male these steps requires a different enzyme. Deficiencies in any of these enzymes can result in inadequate testosterone and produce a different syndrome ingersexed 46, XY intersex. Different types of congenital adrenal hyperplasia can fall in this category.
Problems with using testosterone: Some people have soes testes and make adequate amounts of testosterone, but still have 46, XY intersex due to conditions such as 5-alpha-reductase deficiency or androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS. People with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency lack the enzyme needed to convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone DHT.
There are at least 5 different types of 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. Some of the babies have normal male genitalia, some have normal female genitalia, and many have something in between. Most male to external male genitalia around the time of puberty.
AIS is the most common cause of 46, XY intersex. It has also been called testicular feminization. Here, the hormones are all normal, but the receptors to male hormones don't function properly. There are over different defects that have been identified so far, and each causes a different type of AIS. The symptoms associated with intersex will depend on the underlying cause.
Mqle may include: Ambiguous genitalia at birth Micropenis Clitoromegaly interdexed enlarged clitoris Partial labial fusion Apparently undescended testes which may turn out to be inntersexed in boys Labial or inguinal groin masses which ehat turn out to be whay in girls Hypospadias the opening of intersexed penis is somewhere other than at the tip; in females, the urethra [urine canal] opens into the vagina Otherwise unusual-appearing genitalia at birth Electrolyte abnormalities Dofs or absent puberty Unexpected changes at puberty.
Exams and Tests. The interssexed tests and exams may be done: Chromosome analysis Hormone levels for example, testosterone level Hormone stimulation tests Electrolyte tests Specific molecular testing Endoscopic exam to verify the absence or presence of a vagina or cervix Ultrasound or MRI to evaluate whether internal sex organs are present for example, a uterus. Support groups are very important for families dealing with intersex. The following organizations provide further information: Association for X and Y chromosome variations -- genetic.
Outlook Prognosis. When to Contact a Medical Professional. Alternative Names. Birth Defects Read more. Endocrine Diseases Read more.
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The intersex definition is a person is born with a combination of male and female biological traits. There are several different intersex conditions. For generations, children with male and female characteristics have been born with complications that mean we don't know if he's a boy or a girl. . The parents of an adopted intersex boy are currently suing doctors and.
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