Management of ‘Disorders of Sex Development’/Intersex Variations in Children: Results from a Freedom of Information Exercise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • Fae Garland
  • Mitchell Travis
  • Michael Thompson
  • Joshua Warburton



Non-therapeutic medical interventions on the bodies of children born with Disorders of Sex Development (DSD)/intersex variations have been subject to increasing critical scrutiny. In response to recent criticism directed at the UK, and early moves to consider reform, we report on a Freedom of Information exercise that sought to evaluate whether NHS England is meeting international standards on optimal clinical management of DSD/intersex variations. The study explored what medical protocols are being followed to help inform potential reform, particularly with regard to non-therapeutic surgery. While the exercise revealed limited examples of promising practice, current protocols in the majority of Trusts appear unlikely to meet the complex needs of these children. We identify areas where significant improvement is needed, including: data management; consistency in guideline use; composition of multidisciplinary teams, and addressing disciplinary hierarchies within teams. These concerns sharpen criticisms of the lack of recognition of children’s rights in this context.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Law International
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021