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Updated: SEPTEMBER 3, 2019

Intersex is a term used to describe those individuals that are born with ambiguous reproductive features that do not easily fit within male/female categories. There may be a discrepancy between the individual's external genitalia and their internal reproductive organs or a combination of chromosomal genotype-phenotype mismatches.


More About Intersex

Intersex is a general word used to describe a variety of conditions that surround an individual who doesn't have a clearly defined sex. Some individuals may be considered intersex because they have the external appearance of a female while simultaneously having the internal reproductive organs of a male. Others are not as easily determined as intersex. In the past, doctors would often perform surgery so that the individual's external characteristics conformed to the male or female sex. Now, however, most experts believe that it's important for people to determine their gender identity before any surgery of if any surgery is performed. In some countries, intersex is a sexual assignment option on birth certificates and passports.

Intersex individuals used to be referred to as hermaphrodites. The term hermaphrodite refers to an organism that can perform both male and female reproductive roles, and those, like plants, that can do both simultaneously. Since this does not apply to human individuals, the term was changed to intersex.

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