According to research by Organization Intersex International, hermaphrodites (born with both male and female genitalia) "make up 1 in 2000, or .05%." Babies born as hermaphrodites happen more than the general public realizes or history acknowledges... so I seek for a better medical understanding of these individuals.

What typically happens to these babies?

  1. Is a surgery necessary for all hermaphrodites? Like is it physically possible for them to live full-lives with both genitalia?
  2. Do the doctors or the parents decide what sex the child will be? If so, on what basis is the gender/sex of the baby determined prior to the surgery removing the "extra" genitalia? Do they base it off of which genitalia is more developed?
  3. At what age of the infant do they perform these surgeries?
  4. Are the transgender and bisexual (LGBTQ) rates of those born as hermaphrodites the same/lower/more than others born with one set of genitalia? Are the surgeries reversible? Like if a person later on felt like the doctors/parents chose a gender that they don't identify with...

My questions are sincere and I apologize for my ignorance concerning hermaphrodites (which is why I try to seek answers) or if I lack the skills to phrase my questions in a proper manner. I know each person is different and complex, I am just wondering about what generally happens and the impact it has on their future. I apologize if I may offend anyone with my questions. Please forgive me if I do.

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    What have you learned so far with your own searching/research? – Mark D Worthen PsyD Jul 24 '17 at 16:47
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    @MarkDWorthenPsyD, thanks. I have revised my question by including the statistic on how common it is (see above) -- so that the questions focus on the larger picture. – Butterfly and Bones Jul 24 '17 at 17:08
  • These are excellent questions. I am looking forward to these answers. I, too, respectfully wish to have an increased understanding, but never knew of a safe place where to ask these questions. – Pills N Pillows Jul 24 '17 at 17:15
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    As for question #1, since hermaphrodites have been known throughout history, I'd say it's safe to say they can live full lives with both genitalia. – Carey Gregory Jul 24 '17 at 23:25

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