Sex Development Program

Sex development occurs in stages. A fetus has many opportunities to develop along a path that is not the typical one for a boy or a girl. When sex development follows a less common path, the result is a difference of sex development (DSD*). Learn about differences of sex development. *DSD is a term in evolution. Commonly used terms to describe DSD conditions include difference of sex development, disorder of sex development, and intersex.

Competent, collaborative multidisciplinary care assures the best possible outcome for a child with a DSD. Lurie Children’s unites pediatric urologists, endocrinologists, surgeons and nurses in addition to an ethicist and child psychologist experienced in DSD and gender issues to provide optimal care for each child with a DSD.


A diagnosis of a DSD can be overwhelming for any family. The team at Lurie Children’s is committed to providing the most up-to-date care in a setting that is supportive and compassionate for your family. Our specialists are dedicated to working with your family and understanding your beliefs and your hopes for your child.

As children grow from infancy to adolescence to adulthood, their medical and social needs change, and we work to support them through this development as smoothly as possible. Overall, our goal is for each child to have optimal emotional well-being, growth, development and future sexual function along with a stable gender identity.

Lurie Children’s offers the Gender and Sex Development Program, which was developed for children and families impacted by DSD and diverse gender identities. We look forward to welcoming more families. 

Learn more about our Gender and Sex Development Program.


To find out more information about our program or to request an appointment, call Danielle Lee at 312.227.6203 or e-mail

Specialists & Experience

Our entire staff is dedicated to evaluating and treating pediatric patients from infancy through adolescence. Our specialists include:

  • Pediatricians
  • Endocrinologists
  • Urologists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Ethics consultants
  • Nurse practitioner
  • School consultants
  • Social workers

Director Earl Cheng, MD, started the program in 2013. Dr. Cheng is a board-certified pediatric urologist. Dr. Cheng completed his urology residency at Northwestern University and his pediatric urology fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is a national expert in complex reconstructive urology and has a special interest in the medical and surgical management of individuals with disorders of sex development. ​

Meet all of our specialists.


Our services are provided at the following locations:


Attitudes Towards Fertility Preservation in Patients with DSD​

Help us better understand the healthcare needs of adolescents and young adults who have a diagnosis of a difference of sex development (DSD). By joining our research study, you can help us learn more about opinions related to sexual health and fertility for individuals diagnosed with a DSD condition. Find out more.


Learn more about DSDs by visiting the following physician-recommended websites:

Get more information with these recommended books:

What’s Happening Now​

Take a look at the stories below to learn more about our specialists' expertise and to read the stories of real patients.