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J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2018 Jul 31;10(3):216-222. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.0007. Epub 2018 Mar 29.

Parental Perception of Terminology of Disorders of Sex Development in Western Turkey

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Ege University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Division of Pediatric Urology, İzmir, Turkey
Ege University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, İzmir, Turkey
Ege University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, İzmir, Turkey



Disorders of sex development (DSD) is a nomenclature intended to defeat the discomfort of families and patients and has found worldwide usage. The aim of this study was to address the perception and usage of terminology among the parents of DSD patients in a tertiary center in western Turkey.


The records of the DSD council (multidisciplinary team where each patient with DSD is discussed) between years 2008-2015 were reviewed retrospectively. Data including details of the management process, patient characteristics and follow-up details were noted. Then inquiries reflecting parental perception about terminology were implemented during clinical visits.


In total, 121 patients were evaluated in monthly meetings of the DSD council and 79 inquiries were completed. Fifty-one percent of the families admitted knowing the terms DSD, ambiguous genitalia, “dubious genitals” and intersex. However, only 2% preferred using DSD, 6% intersex and 14% ambiguous genitalia. Fifty-two percent of the parents used a disease name in Latin (mostly hypospadias) addressing the disorder. The offspring of 69% of the parents who were familiar with the name “dubious genitals” were diagnosed in the neonatal period. The preferred terminology used by parents was strongly associated with the terminology used most commonly in the medical speciality their child most often attended.


Each country has its own social norms. We suggest therefore that local committees including medical professionals, patients and families should be employed to develop proper terminology.


intersex conditions; Disorders of sex development; ambiguous genitalia; terminology

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