Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

The differences between sex and gender have been widely discussed in the literature. It is suggested that sex represents a given anatomical set a genitalia while gender is a social construct. Nevertheless, it may be important to point out that even the first concept can sometimes be difficult to define. The medical science shows that the phenomenon of intermediate or ambiguous genitalia proves that some people may not belong to one sex only: it is possible that they will have features of both sexes at the same time. This phenomenon has been widely discussed in the literature. However, it may be particularly important to analyze the effect that having intermediate or ambiguous genitalia has. In order to answer this question, one might be interested in addressing the situation in different dimensions. First of all, the effect on the parents of such a child should be examined. Secondly, the medical aspect of this condition should be evaluated. Finally, the impact of this phenomenon of a child should be outlined.Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

The Impact on the Parents

To begin with, it may be important to state that the parents are likely to be heavily influenced by this medical condition even though it will not be affecting them directly. Thus, it is rather obvious that the parents will most certainly experience various emotional problems while bringing up their child (Coad & Dunstall, 2014). Given the fact that intermediate or ambiguous genitalia is a rather rare medical phenomenon, it is quite possible that the parents will feel isolated and singled out. Obviously, they will most certainly love their children; however, some might not be able to cope with this situation. In other words, such a child will have a negative impact on the family relationships since it will contribute to emotional pressure and might even become a burden to a certain extent.


Another point that should be mentioned with this regard is that given the unique nature of the child’s genitalia, the parents will not feel confident in providing advice in terms of sexual education to the child. This will result in the situation when their involvement as parents will be somewhat limited. Obviously, this will happen in the case when the two parents belong to different sexes. It may be interesting to explore this issue in the environment when the two parents have the same sex. However, since the probability of encountering this is so small, it may be useful to focus on a more conventional family structure. In any way, since each of the parents each represents one particular sex and the child belongs to two simultaneously, they will not be able to provide proper guidance since they will not be competent when talking about a different set of genitalia.Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

The Impact on the Medical Team

Now, it may be beneficial to explore the medical aspect of the topic in question. To begin with, it is essential to point out that the medical condition mentioned in the paragraphs above is quite rare. That is why it is possible that some of the medical staff that a child will encounter later in life may not have proper experience when dealing with such patients. All this leads to the understanding that the medical staff will have to be extra cautious since such an encounter will require additional knowledge (Hutson, 2016). One should also keep in mind that it may be beneficial to approach each problem from interdisciplinary approach or at least consider the differences between a male and a female organism. Furthermore, the medical staff should also consider the possible complications that will be brought up by this medical phenomenon.

Speaking of the medical aspect of the issue, it may be important to state that each case of intermediate or ambiguous genitalia is unique in that sense that the variation of the characteristics presents is not fixed. In other words, the phenomenon in question denotes a wide range of variations that can occur. As a result, it may be useful to treat each individual case as unique. It has been already pointed out that the rate of occurrence of this medical condition is quite low. That is why it is highly unlikely that an average medical doctor will encounter several patients and will not treat their cases as unique ones. Anyway, it is crucial to state that the conventional approach in dealing with the patients in question will not suffice since it will not cover all the peculiarities of their organism that might have a significant influence on their treatment.

The Impact on the Child

Finally, it may be particularly useful to examine the impact that having intermediate or ambiguous genitalia might have on a child. One of the biggest problems that should be mentioned with this regard is the problem of identification. It is clear that despite the efforts of the scholars, the public still tends to follow the binary perception of sexes; that is why a child who has feature of both is likely to be lost as the common understanding of sex operates with mutually exclusive categories rather than a spectrum (Rudolf, Lee, & Levene, 2011). So, it is clear that there will be a lot of psychological pressure on a child as soon as one is capable of using the above-mentioned categories in one’s cognitive process. Clearly, this will not be an issue until adolescence. However, the shock that a child is likely to experience may be particularly traumatic.Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

Another point that should be mentioned is that a child will most certainly encounter certain difficulties in sexual relations. One should keep in mind that sexual intercourse may be a rather intimate act for the parties involved. That is why a child might develop a fear of rejection because of one’s genitalia later in the adult life and this anxiety will have a negative impact on one’s development. Given the fact that people are bombarded with the information about sex since their childhood, it is quite obvious that a child might develop a fear of sexual relations because of the possible rejection. It is clear that this fear is likely to affect all other aspects of one’s development. So, it is possible that one will refrain from building strong relationships with other fearing being rejected ultimately. There is no doubt that this will have a major negative impact on the development of personality.


Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, one is able to see that the impact of having intermediate genitalia should be examined in three dimensions. When it comes to the side of the parents, one might speculate that they are likely to be worrying for their child since it will be different from others which might put pressure on the family relations. In addition to that, they might feel that their involvement as parents will be limited due to being a representative of only one sex. Speaking of the medical aspect, it is important to keep in mind that intermediate genitalia is a rare medical condition. That is why it is possible that the medical staff may not have the sufficient experience and will have to be extra cautious. As for the child, the latter might have a problem of identification and develop a fear of intimate relations.Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

Coad, J., & Dunstall, M. (2014). Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives. London: Elsevier Health Sciences UK.

Hutson, J. M. (2016). Surgical examination of children. Berlin: Springer.

Rudolf, M., Lee, T., & Levene, M. I. (2011). Paediatrics and child health. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia

The post Child Health: Indeterminate or Ambiguous Genitalia appeared first on Nursingfy.

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