Current views on evaluation, management, and gender assignment of the intersex infant

Caleb P. Nelson, John P. Gearhart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In recent years, traditional views regarding the management of infants with intersex conditions have been challenged. Some of these patients have gender dysphoria and gender conversion, although most adults with intersex consider themselves to be either male or female. Hormonal and genetic factors may have a more important role in gender identity and sexual satisfaction than previously recognized, whereas the importance of phallus size to male gender identity and sexual satisfaction may have been overestimated. The impact of androgen imprinting on the developing brain is uncertain, but it is likely to be significant. The issue of genital surgery in infancy is controversial, although many adult patients concur that infancy is the best time for such procedures. Several reports indicate that the functional outcomes of genital surgery are poor, although more recently developed surgical techniques may achieve better results. Good communication between physicians, patients, and families regarding intersex conditions is paramount. We review current understanding of the evaluation and management of intersex conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalNature Clinical Practice Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Ambiguous genitalia
  • Endocrinopathy
  • Gender
  • Intersex
  • Pseudohermaphrodite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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