A dilemma after birth
|   Jul 13, 2017
A dilemma after birth

As soon as the baby was born, Ashish and Pooja finally became parents. After an uneventful pregnancy, Pooja was waiting desparately for her baby to be born and to hold that tiny being in her hands. And that day had finally come.

Ashish was by her side throughout; right from when the pains started until she delivered. The doctors brought the wrapped and crying baby to show her and she was thrilled. She held that tiny part of theirs and kissed the baby and then asked, "So Ashish, what is it? A girl or a boy?" Noticing the unusual quiet in the room, she again asked, "Is my baby alright?" Ashish told her that everything was fine and the baby was healthy too.

As soon as Pooja was back in her hospital room, Ashish and a team of doctors joined her. They explained, "Pooja, your baby has ambiguous genitalia. We cannot say whether it's a girl or a boy. The baby is otherwise stable. We will be doing certain tests which will help us determine the sex of the baby."

Pooja was shocked and speechless. 

"What will you tell mom and dad? And all those friends and relatives who are eagerly awaiting the news?" She asked.

Ashish said, "You do not worry about all that. Your and our baby's health is more important. We will announce the gender after the tests are done."

The next day, the doctors met Pooja and Ashish again and told them that the baby is genetically female having XX chromosomes. But, due to a defect in development her external genitalia look like a male's. The baby has a uterus and instead of ovaries, there is a mixture of ovaries and testis. All her other organs are normal. They also explained about the need for various genetic tests and counselling should they plan a second pregnancy so that such a condition could be identified early and treated during pregnancy. Also, they told her that the baby would require follow up on a regular basis to check for the growth and development.

Regarding the sex of rearing, doctors gave them a few options.

1. Raise the baby as a girl, get a genital reconstruction surgery done at around 5-6 months of age in which a vagina will be created and the excess clitoris will be reduced in size. She may require hormonal therapy and maybe another surgery too at puberty.

2. Raise the baby as a male. When the child is old enough, let the child decide whether he wants to continue as a male albeit with altered sexual function or become a female with reconstruction surgery and hormonal therapy.

What do you think should Pooja and Ashish do? Can you help them decide?

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