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Introduction

Imagine that you have been awaiting the birth of your child for almost nine months and the day has finally come. The water broke, you headed to the hospital, excitedly anticipating the birth of your son or daughter. Your friends and family have been asking you for weeks, “do you want a boy or a girl?” You’ve always responded that you don’t care, you just want a healthy baby.

Now imagine that after your child is born the doctor tells you he has bad news: your child has ambiguous genitalia; they don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. You realize that all that time you didn’t want just a healthy baby, you wanted a normal baby.

Many parents each year face this situation and in the past the doctors have considered it a “social emergency,” immediately taking the newborn into surgery to “fix” them so that they can assign the child a gender. Nearly 1 in 200 people are born with ambiguous genitalia and many of the people are put through multiple surgeries during childhood to make them “normal;” this practice has extreme adverse affects on the individual and alternatives to this practice need to be explored.

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