Majority of females with a life-long experience of CAH and parents do not consider females with CAH to be intersex

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Pediatr Urol


© 2020 Journal of Pediatric Urology Company Introduction: To assess opinions of females with CAH, and parents of females with CAH, about designating this population “intersex,” particularly in legislation about genital surgery during childhood. Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) anonymous cross-sectional online survey of females with CAH (46XX, 16+years old) and independently recruited parents of girls with CAH (2019–2020) diagnosed in first year of life from the United States. A multidisciplinary CAH team drafted the survey in collaboration with women with CAH and parents. Fisher's exact test was used to compare female and parent responses. A qualitative thematic approach was used to analyze open-ended answers for emergent categories of reasons why CAH females should or should not be considered as intersex. Results: Of 57 females with CAH participating (median age: 39 years, 75.5% of ≥25year olds had post-secondary degree), all had classical CAH and 93.0% underwent genital surgery at median 1–2 years old. While 89.5% did not endorse the intersex designation for CAH, the remaining 5.3% did (5.3% provided no answer, Summary Figure). Most CAH females (63.2%) believed CAH females should be considered separately in “any laws banning or allowing surgery of children's genitals” (19.3% disagreed, 17.5% neutral, 0.0% no answer). Most common themes identified by females with CAH not endorsing an intersex designation were: normal female internal organs, sex chromosomes, personal identity, genital appearance, issues with language, hormones, and those endorsing it: genital appearance, community/group experiences, topic complexity. Overall, 132 parents of females with CAH participated (parent/child median ages: 40/11 years, 81.7% of ≥25year olds had post-secondary degree). All children had classical CAH and 78.8% underwent surgery at median 95.5% of parents did not endorse the intersex designation for CAH, 2.3% did (2.3% no answer), similar to females (p = 0.29). Most parents (81.1%) believed CAH females should be considered separately in legislation (9.1% disagreed, 6.1% neutral, 3.8% no answer), a slightly higher percentage than females (p = 0.01). Discussion: Echoing previously published disagreement with clinically designating CAH females as intersex, majority of CAH females and parents oppose a legal intersex designation. Differing opinions among females and parents strengthen concern about a one-size-fits-all approach to legislation about childhood genital surgery. Differences in opinions between female and parent responses, while statistically significant, were relatively small. Conclusion: Majority of females with CAH and parents believe CAH should be excluded from the intersex designation, and should be considered separately in legislation pertaining to childhood genital surgery.[Formula presented]

Volume Number


Issue Number




Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department

General Pediatrics






Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and Northwell Health currently do not subscribe to this title. If you are an affiliate and would like to access the full text please request it via interlibrary loan via Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine ILL (faculty and students only) or Northwell Health ILL

This document is currently not available here.