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May 2004

Health Care Professionals and Intersex Conditions

Author Affiliations

From the Department of General Academic Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill (Dr Frader); the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill (Dr Frader); the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, England (Dr Alderson); the Department of Women's Studies, Wellesley College, Boston, Mass (Dr Asch); the Craniofacial Center, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Wash (Ms Aspinall); the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Davis); the Lyman Briggs School, College of Natural Science (Dr Dreger) and the Department of Philosophy (Dr Nelson), Michigan State University, East Lansing; the Department of Philosophy, Furman University, Greenville, SC (Dr Edwards); the Department of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington, DC (Dr Feder); the Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta (Dr Frank); the Children of Difference Foundation, New York, NY (Ms Hedley); the Department of Philosophy, State University of New York, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook (Dr Kittay); Washington University, St Louis, Mo (Dr Marsh); Kids Plastic Surgery, St Louis (Dr Marsh); US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, DC (Mr Miller); Pediatric Dentistry and Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Mouradian); and The Hastings Center, Garrison, NY (Dr Parens).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(5):426-428. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.5.426

As part of a larger project, a multidisciplinary group convened by The Hastings Center, Garrison, NY, met to consider medical, psychosocial, and ethical issues associated with the care of children born with atypical genitalia or later found to have other conditions now commonly grouped together as "intersex." These children may have congenital adrenal hyperplasia, gonadal dysgenesis, hypospadias, partial or complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, etc. This commentary reflects the deliberations of the group, which concluded that none of the appearance-altering surgeries need to be performed quickly; families with children with intersex conditions require multidisciplinary care; children with intersex conditions deserve to know the truth about their bodies; families and health care professionals will benefit from rigorous longitudinal studies; and health care professionals need additional training about intersex conditions and sexual health generally.

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