What is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term for people whose reproductive organs, sexual anatomy or chromosome patterns differ from the biological definition of male or female. There are many ways someone can be intersex as it involves a spectrum of reproductive characteristics. Being intersex is a natural variation in humans, it does not mean there is something wrong.
Intersex traits can relate to
- Internal anatomy
- Chromosome combinations different to XY (male) and XX (female).
Some intersex people have both ovarian and testicular tissue, while others have atypical female or male genitalia, or male/female genitalia with variations in their internal organs and/or hormones. Some intersex conditions may be related to underlying concerns that might require medical care, but people who are intersex are generally as healthy as those who are not.
How common are intersex conditions?
Causes of intersex
Types of intersex conditions
What happens when someone is born intersex?
Long term outlook
Our intersex research
The overall focus of our intersex research is to identify genes linked to intersex conditions, and the science behind underlying reproductive organ (gonad) formation in the developing embryo.
Our research has the potential to improve the understanding of what it is to be intersex, establish possible genetic links and causes, and improve diagnosis and clinical management of related health outcomes such as cancer risk, infertility, and gender dysphoria.
Improving genetic diagnosis of intersex conditions
Atypical male or female development in the womb leads to intersex conditions in about one per cent of babies. The quality of life of people who are intersex and their families can be affected by the condition’s cause, uncertainty about care choices, and chronic stress associated with stigma and lifelong clinical care.
Diagnosis is difficult, so this innovative study aims to uncover genetic causes by DNA sequencing, mapping the entire genome, and validating the genetic variations discovered in gonadal cell models. The long-term goal is to improve clinical care as part of a multidisciplinary collaboration with the Monash Children’s Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital across individual.
Lead Researcher | Professor Vincent Harley
Modelling the genetic causes of intersex conditions
Genetics of gender incongruence
3MT winner’s recipe for cooking up a baby boy
Hudson Institute part of international project exploring sex differences in disease
NHMRC Ideas Grants success
New findings impact disorders of sex development
ARC Discovery Project Grant
Parkinson’s linked to gene on Y-chromosome in men for the first time
Brittany Croft receives prestigious award in California
Innovative clinical guide to help babies born with DSD
See more news articles about Intersex conditions
Intersex condition collaborators
- Monash Gender Clinic
- Children’s National Washington DC
- Hospital Infantil de Mexico – Dr Alejandra Reyes
- Monash University
Support for people with intersex conditions
Hudson Institute scientists cannot provide medical advice.
Find out more about intersex conditions.
- Sex Development- Genetics and Biology
- Intersex Peer Support Australia
- Intersex Human Rights Australia
- Australian Human Rights Commission 2021 Intersex Report– Ensuring Health and Bodily Integrity
Keep up-to-date with our latest discoveries