Children whose gender is unclear at birth have unique challenges and our multidisciplinary clinic has been designed to help family and child face these challenges. Pediatric urologists perform reconstructive surgery, pediatric endocrinologists make sure correct hormone levels are present, and psychologists help the children and their families face these challenges.

Some conditions we diagnose and treat at the Disorders of Sexual Differentiation Clinic include:

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Impaired testicular development and undescended testes
  • Mixed gonadal dysgenesis

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

When a fetus’s adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone, its body then produces too much androgen. Androgen is a hormone that controls development of the fetus’s genitals. This condition does not affect development of a male fetus’s genitals, but it can cause a female fetus to develop with internally female genital organs and external genitals with some male characteristics. Both boys and girls may require medications to correct their hormonal imbalance.

Impaired Testicular Development and Undescended Testes

Undescended testes are simply testes that do not make it into the scrotum. As a result, when the infant is born, the scrotum is empty. In this case, our doctor surgically moves the testes from the abdomen to the scrotum.

Impaired testicular development can result from an inherited genetic defect, or can develop for unknown reasons. The result is that the infant has undeveloped testes that do not descend into the scrotum. Depending on the cause and condition of the undeveloped testes, surgery and hormone treatments may allow a child born with this condition to develop normally.

Collaborative Care

Disorders of sexual differentiation (DSD) may be corrected with relatively straightforward treatment, or may require you to make a difficult decision for your child. Our dedication to family-centered care ensures that you will have the information you need to make decisions and to feel comfortable with your child’s treatment.