Monash Bioethics Review

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 23–42 | Cite as

Parental consent and the surgical management of intersexed newborns

  • Brooke Sanders Purves


After years of secrecy the public is becoming more aware of different intersex conditions in newborns. This enlightenment is leading to increased discussion of the ethical issues raised by surgical management of such conditions. A central issue turns on consent to surgery for intersex conditions. Since surgeries to “correct” the physical manifestations of intersexuality are initiated early in infancy, and infants are unable to consent, informed consent must be given by parents. Yet there is evidence that parents are routinely deceived or incompletely informed when making these life-impacting decisions for the thousands of children born intersexed each year.


Gender Identity Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Parental Consent Hypospadias Monash Bioethic Review 
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Copyright information

© Monash University 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brooke Sanders Purves
    • 1
  1. 1.Dep. of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityUSA

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