Does surgical genitoplasty affect gender identity in the intersex infant?

Hormone Research
Claire Nihoul-Fékété


There is no clear-cut answer to the question of whether surgical genitoplasty affects gender identity in the intersex infant. The debate centres around which is more important for the development of gender identity: the biological sex of a child or the sex in which a child is reared. We believe that the surgical achievement of a phenotype concordant with the sex of rearing is a tremendous help to the parents of an intersex infant. We do not consider that the 'neutral' upbringing of a child with ambiguous genitalia is a feasible option, first because of the parents' distress which prevents them from raising their child normally and second because in most cultures around the world gender variants are not treated as equals. A neutral upbringing may induce psychosocial consequences that are more pernicious than carefully considered neonatal sex attribution and concordant surgical genitoplasty.


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