Management of Intersex Newborns: Legal and Ethical Developments
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143.2 ( Nov. 2018): 255–259
10 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2018
Date Written: 2018
Countries worldwide are increasingly expanding male/female binary sex classifications to recognize a third status. Intersex newborns may be included in this third category on birth certification. Parents, families and communities require counselling and education to accommodate intersex newborns without stigma or discrimination. Whatever its biological/genetic origin, intersex status is a natural if relatively uncommon condition (1 in 1500 to 2000 live births) that distinguishes sex from gender. The tendency of societies to recognize only male and female genders at birth has resulted in intersex children being subjected to invasive surgery and related sometimes lifelong medication to confirm them as male or female. On gaining maturity, some are severely distressed and resentful that early gender assignment was mistaken, particularly when excision of testes to enforce femininity or of ovaries to enforce masculinity has denied them procreative capacity. Emerging principles support postponement of such interventions until intersex individuals can make a gender choice for themselves.
Keywords: Birth certification, Gender/sex contrast, Hermaphroditism, Intersex newborns, Newborns, Sex/gender contrast, Transexuality
JEL Classification: J13, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation