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Intersex; What's it all about?

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Intersex! It's the third letter in QUILTBAG, and is the most physical out of all of them, intersex is a term used for a variety of different conditions which affects the body physically. These can range from chromosomal abnormalities  in some or all of the persons cells to someone's inability to respond to Androgen.
I will be explaining some of the former; Chromosomal Abnormalities. I will cover Klinefelter's Syndrome and Turner's Syndrome and the formerly mentioned inability to respond to Androgen. 

Klinefelter's Syndrome
Klinefelter's Syndrome is a genetic condition which affects between 1 in 500 and 1 in 1000 births. It is characterised by the addition of an extra X chromosome in the male's karyotype (meaning they are XXY, rather than XY)
The condition was first discovered in 1942 by Dr Harry Klinefelter, who was the first person to describe it. The symptoms of this condition are highly variable (an XXY male may experience none of these symptoms whereas another may experience all of them). 

Children who are affected by Klinefelter's Syndrome may have weaker muscles and reduced strength and may have reduced muscle coordination when compared to other children. During puberty however it may become much more obvious due to the reduced amounts of Testosterone being produced, so because of this they often have less muscular bodies than other teenage males as well as less facial or body hair, wider hips and may have weaker bones, a lower energy level and may experience gynecomastia (growth of breast tissue). As they age they begin to look more like males who are not affected by Klinefelter's Syndrome, although they are generally taller. They may also experience the variable symptoms such as gynecomastia or a youthful appearance.

Unfortunately people who have Klinefelter's Syndrome are usually infertile or may suffer from reduced fertility.

How does this come about?
During Meiosis (The type of cell division used to make Sperm and Eggs) Chromosomes may fail to separate and so the Gametes end up with an extra X chromosome, which is then passed onto the fertilized egg

Turner's Syndrome
Turner's Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality which affects between 1 in 200 and 1 in 5000 females. It is characterised by a lack of  an extra X chromosome in the females karyotype (Meaning they are X0, rather than XX) The syndrome is named after Henry Turner, who described it in 1938, In Europe however it is often called Ullrich-Turner Syndrome in order to acknowledge a European doctor who described it. As with Klinefelter's Syndrome the symptoms of this Syndrome are highly variable.

Symptoms of Turner's Syndrome can include short stature, Lymphedema (swelling in the hands and feet), a broader chest, low hairline, low-set ears, sterility, increased weight, webbed neck, poor breast development, a "Horseshoe Kidney" (when the two kidneys fuse in the centre), hearing loss, ADHD, and Non-Verbal Learning disability.

How does this come about? 
There is currently no known cause for Turner's Syndrome as the only solid fact known at this present moment is that the second sex chromosome is not transferred to the fetus.

Both Syndromes can exhibit Mosaicism in which some (but not all) of the person's cells contain an extra chromosome (or lack one in the case of Turner's).

Men who suffer from Klinefelter's Syndrome can still reproduce through IVF, Unfortunately however Turner Females can only be surrogate mothers.another condition of Intersex that isn't always based on genetics.

Androgen insensitivity syndrome.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome (often abbreviated to AIS) is a condition that results in the cells in your body being completely or partially unable to respond to the presence of a group of hormones called Androgens.

But What are Androgens?
Androgen by definition is an umbrella term for any chemical, synthetic or natural that stimulates or controls the formation and maintenance of male characteristics in vertebrates (Animals with their skeleton on the inside) by binding to Androgen receptors. One you've probably heard of is Testosterone, as this is the most important one. During development in the womb Androgens cause the tissues involved in the production of sperm cells. Once out of the womb Androgens continue to have an effect; from making Males typically have less fat on their bodies to making Males more muscular (Again this can't be applied to every male).
Androgen insensitivity syndrome means that a child with an XY karyotype may not develop into a man.

Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
Individuals born with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome are born Physically Female and so this may remain undetected until puberty which may be delayed but is otherwise normal apart from the lack of a menstrual cycle. People who are Phenotypical Women with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome lack Ovaries and instead have Testes. This is due to the presence of the Y Chromosome which causes them to form. Often they are internal but sometimes they may be present in the Labia. They also lack a Uterus meaning they are infertile and is also the reason for them menstruating. The Testes will produce Androgen but due to the inability for the cells to detect androgen it has no affect until undergoes a chemical reaction to form Estrogen, Which is responsible for feminising the body.

Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
Unlike Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome doesn't always produce a Phenotypic Female. Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome results in genital ambiguity due to only some of the cells being able to respond to androgens meaning masculinisation doesn't completely occur. This can lead to conditions such as Micropenis.
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