Evaluation of terminology used to describe disorders of sex development

Davies, J.H., Knight, E.J., Savage, A., Brown, J. and Malone, P.S. (2011) Evaluation of terminology used to describe disorders of sex development Journal of Pediatric Urology, 7, (4), pp. 412-415. (doi:10.1016/j.jpurol.2010.07.004). (PMID:20708971).


Full text not available from this repository.



The terminology used to describe abnormalities of sex determination and sex differentiation was revised in 2006. It was anticipated that new terms, such as ‘disorders of sex development’ (DSD), would improve communication between health professionals, aid parental understanding and be acceptable to affected individuals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of the new terminology.

Subjects and methods

Using a questionnaire, we evaluated the acceptance of these new terms by parents of children with a DSD (n = 19), health professionals (n = 15) and parents of unaffected children (n = 25).


Comparing the term ‘DSD’ to ‘intersex’, overall 86.4% of participants preferred the term ‘DSD’, and parents of a child with a DSD had an even higher preference (94.7%). Parents of an affected child considered the new term to improve their understanding of their child’s condition (83.3%), and to aid explanation by parent to affected child (82.4%) and to wider family and friends (84.2%). Health professionals preferred the genotype-based terms, whereas parents considered these terms confusing. Overall, 59.3% of participants agreed DSD was an acceptable new term.


There was broad support for the new terminology by parents and health professionals. The description ‘disorder of sex development’ may be helpful to parents at the time when it is not possible to assign gender, after which aetiologically based diagnoses should be used where possible.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.jpurol.2010.07.004
ISSNs: 1477-5131 (print)
Keywords: disorders of sex development, intersex, nomenclature, taxonomy
Organisations: Human Development & Health
ePrint ID: 202447
Date :
Date Event
14 August 2011e-pub ahead of print
August 2011Published
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 11:13
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 01:21
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/202447

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item