Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hermaphroditic Babies - A Poser

Food for thought from the International Herald Tribune:
Malaysian parents should register the sex of babies born with both male and female sexual organs as "unclear," a news report said Wednesday.

Abdullah Mohamad Zin, a minister for religious affairs, was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying parents should take time to observe whether their hermaphroditic child has stronger male or female tendencies.

"Don't register the child as a male because if the baby grows up with female tendencies, it will be difficult to change the gender," Abdullah was quoted as saying during a debate Tuesday in Parliament.

Abdullah said he was informed by the health ministry that such babies could be cured through hormone injections and counseling.

No details were given on the number of hermaphroditic babies born in the country. The medical condition, in which people are born with both ovarian and testicular tissue, is rare worldwide.

Abdullah and other ministry officials could not be reached for comment.
***** Frankly I've never given any thought to such a situation. Imagine the distress of the parents of these children, with so much uncertainty.
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4 Comments:

Blogger fishfarmer said...

only in Malaysia,
bureaucratic red tape is harder to change than genetic makeup.

6:56 PM GMT+8  
Blogger U-Liang said...

There is maybe some merit in looking at this issue from a scientific point of view instead of a religious one.

In particular, Health Ministry should look into this matter instead of the department of religious affairs.

7:37 PM GMT+8  
Blogger What A Lulu said...

i think registering the child as an "others" will bring a host of problems when the child starts school.
teachers can be gossipy and children mean.
the child would probably be teased and tormented for having his gender stated as an "others".
neither the girls nor the boys would feel comfortable having the child in their toilet.

maybe in the computerised records, it can be others, but in the print out, let it state one gender. as there are records in the database recording the child as an other, when the child reaches the crossroad, changes can be made.

9:16 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

Its a medical issue, shouldn't involve religious authorities.

From available international information, truly physically hermaphrodic children are very rare. In a relatively small population like Malaysia, there are probably very few cases.

A bit more common are cases where at the moment of birth, its somewhat unclear whether its a boy or a girl, especially if the baby is very thin or poorly developed.
Recent advances in medicine have allowed some even very premature babies to survive.

This uncertainty usually clears up after a month or so, when the baby has grown a bit. I'm not sure of the law on this, but for such cases there should be a provision for the gender "To Be Confirmed" by a doctor later.

12:34 PM GMT+8  

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