Differences of Sexual Development

Sex development occurs in stages. Babies have many opportunities to develop along paths that are not the typical one male or female phenotype. When sex development follows a less common path, the result is a difference of sex development (DSD). An estimated 1 in 4500 children has such a condition. While many times, these differences are found at birth, some are not found until later in life, even though these conditions are present since early in development.

Children with DSD require continued multidisciplinary care that includes urologists and endocrinologists. Surveillance for remnant structures should be considered throughout the patient’s lifetime. Fertility consultation with a urologist may be required as fertility is widely variable and depends on a patient’s individual condition.

The Northwestern Medicine Congenital Urology Program provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for differences of sexual development.

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