Ambiguous genitalia in the newborn
The complex pathogenicity leading to intersex problems in infants, often with ambiguous genitalia, reflects the intricate chromosomal, gonadal and hormonal interchanges which lead to the sexual development of the normal infant. The understanding of normal sexual development is essential to permit the identification of the various disorders of sexual development which should be made promptly at birth. Early recognition of abnormal sexual development can be lifesaving in infants with metabolic disorders, such as the salt wasting adrenogenital syndrome, which may lead to death unless treated promptly. The early, correct and definitive gender assignment is imperative since a delay or mistaken assignment may lead to permanent psychological damage to child and family, and may preclude the appropriate gender assignment if the diagnosis has been made too late1.
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