What is DSD?

DSD (Differences/Disorders of Sex Development) is a group of conditions (also known as intersex, and often genetically determined) that affect the reproductive and genito-urinary development of a baby in the womb.

Children and young people with DSD can have sex chromosomes and an internal and/or external genital anatomy that are unexpected for a boy or a girl.

This does not usually affect their health, and the problems are mainly to do with how to raise the children, protect them from feeling isolated and teach them the life skills needed to deal with their specific challenges. Many with genital differences can live care-free lives, and some kids with a DSD need medication to help balance hormone levels.

All of this can be challenging, but with appropriate specialist guidance and surrounded by loving and supportive families, kids with a DSD can grow up safely and thrive.

  • Dsdgenetics website (new Winter 2014-2015)

    This fairly new resource focuses on how genetic factors can give rise to variations from male or female development, and the biological consequences of these variations.

  • DSD: A Guide for Parents and Physicians

    A new book written by members of Oklahoma City SUCCEED team: Disorders of sex development: A Guide for Parents and Physicians. (Available in Paperback and in Kindle format)

    Disorders of Sex Development: A Guide for Parents and Physicians is the first book written by experienced team members who understand families’ confusion and fear when their child is diagnosed with a DSD. They achieve their goal of empowering families through education about biological and psychosocial aspects of DSD with gentle and concise prose. Beginning on the first page with reassurances of affected children’s future health and happiness, the authors provide clear descriptions of how DSD conditions arise, accompanied by excellent diagrams and illustrations. Clarifying diagnosis and treatment, major issues such as gender, sexuality, and potential gender transition are addressed in a direct and practical manner that demystifies these difficult topics so parents and clinicians can focus on what is best for each individual child. The authors place special focus on discussing the value of peer support, with inclusion of contact information for high-quality peer support groups. Respecting families’ values and culture, treatment options are presented without bias. Acknowledging that differences of opinion with clinicians may arise, the book provides unique, sensible advice for preserving relationships while achieving satisfactory resolution. (Reviewed by Arlene Baratz, moderator of the AISDSD Parent Email Group)

  • The website of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, offers an animated learning facility to help children (and their parents!) learn about sex development. The information is available in English, French, German and Chinese.

    You can find it here.

  • For lots of other accessible and helpful information, do also visit the FAQ and Glossary on the ‘Learn about DSD’ section on the Accord Alliance website.