Being intersex is when a person is born with both male and female characteristics, and affects around 1 in 2000 people each year. This condition is not always recognised at birth, with some people experiencing problems when they reach puberty by developing gender characteristics outside their labelled sex. Traditionally, doctors and parents have decided on behalf of the baby which gender they will fit in to, but recent debate has brought forward the opinion that children should be allowed to grow up happily with both sexual characteristics before deciding for themselves. At birth doctors would perform surgery to leave the child with wholly male or female genital characteristics so that the child can grow as being either male or female. Sufferers who decide that they have either been labelled as being the wrong gender, or choose their own gender identity themselves later on in life can also receive surgery and/or hormone treatment to develop the gender characteristics they wish.
This condition is often linked to Androgen Insensitivy Syndrome where a person is born genetically male but whose genitals have some form of female appearance. This is due to a lack of sensitivity to androgen which helps to develop the male reproductive organs when a child is in the womb. Both these conditions are what doctors call medically sex development disorders and are different from conditions such as gender dysphoria, where a person feels that they are trapped inside a body with the wrong sex.
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