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

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.

*DSD is a term in evolution. Commonly used terms to describe DSD conditions include difference of sex development, disorder of sex development, and intersex.


Our Approach

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. 

Intersex Care at Lurie Children’s and Our Sex Development Clinic

Lurie Children’s has recently had several important conversations with our staff, patient advocates and community partners about our Sex Development Clinic and the types of care Lurie Children’s offers intersex children and youth. We share a deep respect for those in our community and beyond who advocate for these patients, the intersex community and the broader LGBTQIA+ community.

Historically care for individuals with intersex traits included an emphasis on early genital surgery to make genitalia appear more typically male or female.

Since then, brave individuals, both those affected by these conditions and medical professionals who recognized the problems, spoke out about this harmful standard of care. Their testimonials have prompted the medical community to carefully re-evaluate and change the standard of care in significant ways. Since the Sex Development Clinic formed in 2013, we have strived to think progressively about how to further improve care for patients in this field.

As we continue to reflect on the best way to support the intersex community going forward, we are evaluating our current policies and taking several actions, which you can read about here. We will continue to update the community on the actions we are taking on a monthly basis.

Appointments

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

Research

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.

Philanthropy

Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for adolescents and young adults. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org or call 312.227.7500