A hermaphrodite is an individual who has both male and female reproductive sex organs. However, usually one set is not fully developed. This occurs in about 1.7 percent of all human births.

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  • Ivy


    I’m 21, and I used to read this site a lot as a young girl. I hate the idea of a girl getting misinformation from a great website like this, so I felt the need to write this comment.

    I know this article is a few years old, but you really should change the title and terminology used. The word hermaphrodite is inaccurate and offensive and intersex is the medically correct and preferred term.

    You even link to the Intersex Society of North America’s website, so I’m surprised that you would use that term. If you go to their page and search for the term “hermaphrodite” you get the following, which explains why this article is problematic:

    “Is a person who is intersex a hermaphrodite?
    No. The mythological term “hermaphrodite” implies that a person is both fully male and fully female. This is a physiologic impossibility.

    The words “hermaphrodite” and “pseudo-hermaphrodite” are stigmatizing and misleading words. Unfortunately, some medical personnel still use them to refer to people with certain intersex conditions, because they still subscribe to an outdated nomenclature that uses gonadal anatomy as the basis of sex classification. In a paper titled Changing the Nomenclature/Taxonomy for Intersex: A Scientific and Clinical Rationale, five ISNA-associated experts recommend that all terms based on the root “hermaphrodite” be abandoned because they are scientifically specious and clinically problematic. The terms fail to reflect modern scientific understandings of intersex conditions, confuse clinicians, harm patients, and panic parents. We think it is much better for everyone involved when specific condition names are used in medical research and practice.”