Between The Sexes

More babies than you might think are born neither boys nor girls. Sorting it out is a lifelong struggle

In 1993 Debbie Hartman was sure she was hearing things in her hospital room. She had just undergone a caesarean section, and the doctors were saying the baby was healthy but they weren't sure whether it was a boy or a girl. "I thought the drugs were making me hallucinate," she recalls. In fact, she was hearing just fine. But nothing about her child's biology--from the chromosomes to the reproductive tissue--conformed to the standard demarcations we have come to expect between the male and female sexes. In the language of developmental biologists, the baby was "intersexual."

Careful examination showed that the...

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