What Is It Called When Someone Is Born With Male and Female Organs?

When someone is born with both male and female organs, the condition is called ambiguous genitalia, according to MedlinePlus. It has several different forms, and each one has a specific set of characteristics that sets it apart from the others.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a person who has gonadal dysgenesis has underdeveloped gonads, meaning ovaries or testes, with internal reproductive organs that are usually female. The external genitalia in someone with this form of ambiguous genitalia tends to trend more on the female side, but it might be indistinguishable in some cases.

With pseudohermaphroditism, a person has questionable external sexual organs but the internal reproductive organs of only one sex. If a person has male gonads, the condition is termed as male pseudohermaphroditism. A person with female gonads is said to have female pseudohermaphroditism.

A person with true hermaphroditism has internal reproductive organs of both the male and female sexes. External sex organs of both sexes are also present, although these can be somewhat altered. For example, the penis might be small, but the clitoris is enlarged.

When these abnormalities are present, doctors will often use chromosome testing to determine the person’s true sex. Exams and testing might be done on the external organs or internal organs to determine sex. In some cases, personal preference is the deciding factor as to what sex a person will live as.