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For Some Parents, Raising An Intersex Child Has Cultural Implications

(CBS) -- In one in every 4,500 births, doctors cannot immediately tell the parents whether they have a boy or a girl. WBBM's Steve Miller talked to families who have been dealing with uncertainty.

They are a couple in their early 30s, sitting in the Chicago coffee shop with their four-month-old.

"When our child was delivered - we were expecting a girl the labor delivery nurse told us it was a boy. I immediately said, 'Are you sure?'

"They looked a little closer and they came away with saying, 'We're not sure. The baby's ambiguous.'"


They are raising their intersex child as a boy.

"But there's no saying whether he'll decide to be a boy or a girl, so any surgery that we did decide to do... in our mind, had to be reversible."

The surgery removed a non-functional gonad that might have turned cancerous.

"Everything else about him stayed the same the way he was born. His uterus is still there."

For some families, religion is an issue. In this family, it's culture. The father's heritage is Southeast Asian.

"This particular group with ambiguous genitalia has always been quite ostracized in our culture. To the point where most of them are kicked out of the house, live on the streets and join the carnival..."

His answer to people who would shun his child?

"If they don't like it, they can go pound sand."

This is the second part in a five part series. To read part one, click here.

Lurie Children's Hospital is one of the medical centers in the Chicago area that treats patients with a variety of disorders of sexual development.

The DSD clinic estimates that 1 in every 4,500 children has a disorder of sexual development, although other estimates range from 1 in 1,500 to 1 in 5,000.

Lurie's DSD clinic currently treats 72 patients.

For more information on Lurie's DSD Clinic, click here.

Parents we spoke with for this series recommended the website

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