My own research into many sites, information is pieced together

A term referring to a person that belongs to both sexes (intersexual).

True hermaphroditism requires the presence of both ovarian (female) and testicular (male) reproductive tissue and is relatively rare and poorly understood. Pseudohermaphroditism is more common and from a medical standpoint. Hermaphroditism suggests two factors:

  • Ambiguous external genitalia
  • Genitalia that may not match the genetic make-up of the person (e.g.: female genitalia in an XY, genetically male individual)

    The following conditions can produce ambiguous genitalia and hermaphroditism:

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Fetal exposure to progestins or androgens
  • Testicular feminization syndrome
  • XY gonadal dysgenesis
  • XY gonadal agenesis
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Cryptophthalmos
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz
  • 4p syndrome
  • 13q syndrome


  • Ambiguous genitalia at birth
  • Unusual appearing genitalia at birth

    Early assignment of the sex is important for the emotional well being of the person. In large part, the decision is based on the corrective potential of the ambiguous genitalia, rather than on chromosomal determinants. Once the decision is made regarding sex, from that point on there should be no question in the family's mind regarding the sex of the child.

    Corrective surgery is used to reconstruct the external genitalia. In general, it is easier to reconstruct female genitalia than male genitalia, and the ease of reconstruction will play a role in the determination of sex.

    With corrective surgery, the appearance of external genitalia may appear normal, but other problems such as virilization may appear later.