The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 15, Issue 3, Autumn 2015

Rev. Erik Lenhart, OFM Cap.
Pages 453-463

People Born with Intersex Conditions
Pastoral and Bioethical Considerations

There exist a variety of biological variations known as intersex conditions (ICs) or disorders of sex development (DSDs), which cause a per­son’s sex as male or female to be uncertain at birth. In the past several decades, cosmetic surgery aimed at “normalizing” the infant’s body has become an increasingly controversial treatment for an infant with an IC or DSD. While ICs and DSDs are not addressed directly by Catholic moral teaching, the Catholic Tradition has a number of tools (prudence, dignity, and hospitality) that can undergird a Catholic response to the suffering of people with ICs and DSDs and support improved medical, pastoral, and spiritual care for them and their families.