Assignment of sex in neonates with ambiguous genitalia

W G Reiner
Current Opinion in Pediatrics 1999, 11 (4): 363-5
Sex assignment in the newborn with ambiguous genitalia has been based on the adequacy of the phallus in the male, potential fertility in the female, and cosmetic appearance of the reconstructed genitalia. Recent data from both the neurosciences and from clinical research, however, casts doubt on the validity of such criteria for clinical decision making. Current knowledge suggests a need to shift away from the current clinical approach and to incorporate these new data into decisions based on a broader understanding of the etiology of gender identity. Recognition of the primacy of psychosocial and psychosexual developmental outcomes for children with ambiguous genitalia is lending direction to longitudinal outcomes research. New approaches to sex assignment have been suggested, and the paradigm for sex assignment in the newborn period is in transition.

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