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Hermaphroditism


Hermaphroditism is the condition whereby an organism possesses both female and male reproductive organs. Most flowering plants are hermaphrodites or bisexual. Most bisexual animals include invertebrates like worms, snails, slugs, flukes and barnacles. These organisms are mostly slow-moving, parasitic or permanently attached to other plants or animals.

In human, though rare case, this condition which incorporates internal reproductive organs and external genitalia is referred to as intersex. Intersex conditions are as well known as disorder of sexual development. In true intersex condition, an individual possesses both testicular and ovarian tissue. The testicular and ovarian tissue may be distinct of joined in what is referred to ovotestis.

Characteristics of Human Hermaphroditism

Intersex individual possesses sex chromosomes portraying female-male mosaic. In other words, the individual possesses both pairs of XX chromosomes and XY chromosomes. In most cases, though not always, the complement of chromosomes is 46, XX. In each intersex individual, there is presence of Y chromosomal components on one of the twenty two pairs apart from the sex chromosomes.

Intersex individuals who have 46, XX chromosome accolade often possesses vague external genital with considerable phallus and thus are usually nurtured as males. Nevertheless, these individual may develop breasts during adolescence and have monthly periods, although this evident is very rare, but they do produce sperm. Intersex individual who have female pseudohermaphrodistm, 46 XX, possesses male external genitalia, however, they have female reproductive organs and chromosomal composition. Male pseudohermaphroditism, 46 XY, individuals possesses female external genitalia although they have male reproductive organs and chromosomal composition but the testes may be absent or malformed.

Treatment of Intersex

Human intersex treatment in most cases depends on the age at which medication is diagnosed. Historically, when intersex cases were diagnosed during the birth, the decision of sex was made by the biological parents on the basis of the sex organ that is predominant. The most common treatment for intersex cases is intersex surgery to eliminate the opposite sex gonads. The other genitalia are the reconstructed to look like those of the preferred sex. The female genitalia are more readily performed compared to male genitalia. Therefore, in most cases, uncertain individuals are reconstructed to female genitalia.

Conversely, intersex surgery has got long-term costs effects on the affected persons. For instance, the person may not be contented with the assigned gender. Therefore, intersex surgery may end up been delay until adolescence or adulthood for affected individuals to make their own choices.