Prenatal Dexamethasone and Gender Engineering

Image by Edgar181.

Shari Roan, writing in today’s LA Times, discusses treatment with the steroid dexamethasone offered to women who find out they’re at risk of carrying a child with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). It’s worth mentioning at the outset that while CAH is often reported as being an intersex condition, that’s only true of a small number of people with CAH.

Regardless, prenatal treatment with dexamethasone, which carries the risk of causing high blood pressure and glucose abnormalities, reduces the risk of the child having CAH at birth and therefore reduces the chance that a woman will have an intersex child. Because girls born with CAH tend to have a higher rate of lesbian identity and behavior, prenatal dexamethasone also makes an adult lesbian identity less likely.



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