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Ruth, now 60, spent much of her youth questioning the constant medical attention, including surgeries, she received in her early childhood in the 1960s.

A father plays with his daughter, who was born with atypical sex characteristics.

Despite pressure from doctors, the parents chose not to elect medically unnecessary surgeries on their child.

The medical community has evolved in its approach to intersex cases—which doctors often categorize as “Differences of Sex Development” or “DSD”—by establishing “DSD teams.” These teams convene multiple healthcare specialists, including mental health providers, to advise on and treat intersex patients.

The results are often catastrophic, the supposed benefits are largely unproven, and there are generally no urgent health considerations at stake.

As detailed below, there have been changes in practice in recent years, with many doctors now advising against surgery on infants and young children.

But even so, surgery continues to be practiced on children with atypical sex characteristics too young to participate in the decision, when those procedures both carry a meaningful risk of harm and can be safely deferred.

Procedures that could be delayed until intersex children are old enough to decide whether they want them are instead performed on infants who then have to live with the consequences for a lifetime.