Report on Treatment of Newborns With Genital Abnormalities

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Monday, July 3, 2000

Medical staff and parents should refrain from immediately assigning a gender to newborns with genital abnormalities until the child's condition can be thoroughly reviewed and given careful consideration, according to a new AAP technical report.

Intersex disorders, including ambiguous genitalia, are caused by genetic and/or hormonal abnormalities.

The report recommends that these children should undergo a physical examination and series of laboratory tests before gender determination. Some intersex disorders are not as visibly apparent, and therefore may not be diagnosed until childhood or adolescence.

In the last decade, medical research has shown that a variety of physical factors including endocrine function and testosterone imprinting can help determine the sex of a child born with ambiguous genitalia. The report says that most infants with intersex disorders are evaluated immediately after birth. Once doctors, working with a child's parents, have determined the child's sex, treatment will be outlined. This may or may not include surgery.

Pediatricians should take a leadership role in coordinating the diagnostic evaluation, helping families understand their child's medical condition, and maintaining open communication between the family and other health care team members.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 55,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2000, July 3). Report on Treatment of Newborns With Genital Abnormalities, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Last Updated: March 15, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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