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Books, Journals, New Media
December 3, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(21):2866-2867. doi:10.1001/jama.290.21.2866

Consider the importance of gender assessment; even before being given a name, infants born in hospitals are designated either "Baby Boy" or "Baby Girl." However, in the United States each year approximately one in 2000 babies are born with both male and female external sex organs (eg, penis and vagina or clitoris and testicles). Subsequent gender investigation entails chromosomal testing, radiographic investigation of whether internal sex organs (uterus, ovaries, prostate) are present, and hormonal assays to determine the functionality of the sex organs located. Medical interventions may be drastic, eg, excision of enlarged clitorises, excision of testicles, construction of vaginas or penises, lifelong hormone therapy.