Send to

Choose Destination
J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Aug;18(8):729-33.

Changing the nomenclature/taxonomy for intersex: a scientific and clinical rationale.

Author information

Program in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


We explain here why the standard division of many intersex types into true hermaphroditism, male pseudohermaphroditism, and female pseudohermaphroditism is scientifically specious and clinically problematic. First we provide the history of this tripartite taxonomy and note how the taxonomy predates and largely ignores the modern sciences of genetics and endocrinology. We then note the numerous ways that the existing taxonomy confuses and sometimes harms clinicians, researchers, patients, and parents. Finally, we make six specific suggestions regarding what a replacement taxonomy and nomenclature for intersex should do and not do, and we call for the abandonment of all terms based on the root "hermaphrodite".

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Sheridan PubFactory
Loading ...
Support Center