If, at delivery, the genitalia are ambiguous to the midwife and/or doctor (this happens to between 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10000 live births), it is somewhat important not to make a definitive statement regarding the infant's sex straight away. Extra time should be taken for further investigation - if still in doubt, a karyotype should tell the infant's genotypic gender.

Counselling should be offered to the parents and options given as to what they can do with their newborn and how to raise it (i.e. as which sex).

ambiguous genitalia: a birth defect of the sex organs in which, from their embryonically undifferentiated state, they have failed to become fully differentiated as either male or female, but are unfinished. At birth the baby's sex cannot be declared on the basis of visual inspection. Diagnostically, the term is hermaphroditism or intersexuality. Embryologically, it is not possible to develop a complete penis and scrotum together with a complete vagina and vulva.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

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