How do doctors and parents decide sex assignment in babies born with ambiguous genitals?

A variety of factors go into this decision. Important goals in deciding sex assignment include preserving fertility where possible, ensuring good bowel and bladder function, preserving genital sensation, and maximizing the likelihood that the baby will be satisfied with his or her assigned sex later in life. Research has shown that individuals with some conditions are more likely to be satisfied in later life when assigned as males, while individuals with other conditions are more likely to be satisfied when assigned as females. For still other conditions, individuals may be equally satisfied with assignment to either sex, or there may not be enough information to make confident recommendations. Doctors share this information with babies’ parents as part of the process of deciding the most appropriate sex to assign.

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