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July 2nd, 2010 at 10:22 am

A Prenatal Treatment to Prevent Lesbian Daughters Raises Questions of Medical Ethics

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A New York doctor named Maria New has been advising pregnant women to take a steroid called dexamethasone to prevent homosexuality and “masculine behavior” in their daughters. How did she get away with this form of anti-gay genetic engineering?

 

New is an endocrinologist who studies, among other things, a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). It’s caused by overexposure to male hormones in the womb, and it can result in developmental abnormalities that often mean, as Time magazine puts it, “a lifetime of taking powerful steroid medications to compensate for faulty adrenal glands.” It can also cause girls to be born with ambiguous genitalia. (They have large clitorises that appear penis-like, though they also have perfectly ordinary vaginal openings and wombs.)

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