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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
At Boston Children's Hospital, the first step in treating your child's is to determine the appropriate sex for your child. This is done as a partnership between your team of health care providers and your family. This determination will inform the course of treatment. You, as parents, will be involved every step of the way.
How is a gender assigned?
Gender assignment is important for treatment purposes as well as the emotional well being of the child as he grows older. Once you and your child's doctor decide on the appropriate gender for your baby, it's a matter of determining what treatments are most beneficial.
Typically, the decision on whether to raise a child with MGD as male or female is based on the child's anatomy. If raised male, the child typically makes enough testosterone and wouldn't need additional hormone therapy, which is an additional benefit.
Raising a child with MGD as female is a bit more complicated. Because she has a testis that's producing testosterone and she doesn't have a normal ovary, surgery will need to be done to remove the testis and the girl will need to be on hormone replacement therapy to receive adequate estrogen.
What treatments are available?
The medical treatment options for DSDs may include:
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Will children with MGD receive hormone therapy throughout their whole lives?
It depends on the gender of the child. A male child with a testis that's functioning well enough to produce male hormones won't need hormonal therapy. Children reared as females would need hormonal therapy throughout their lives because they don't have a normal ovary.
How do you determine that my child's hormone levels are normal and he's progressing as he should be?
For males, blood can be tested to make sure testosterone levels are normal. A male might not need hormone therapy if his testis functions adequately. A doctor will also perform routine clinical examinations to see how a boy is maculinizing. The questions they will want to answer include: Is the penis growing? Are the existing testes growing? Are they developing pubic hair?
Since females can't produce their own estrogen, doctors will make sure she receives hormone replacement therapy throughout her life. Blood tests can establish that a girl's estrogen levels remain normal.
MGD can be emotionally difficult for parents and children alike. Fortunately, there is a lot of support and help available to you.
Visit the Behavioral Medicine and Coping Program page or call us at 617-355-6688 to learn more.
Other sources of support include:
The Children's For Patients and Families website offers information on the wide array of support services available to families at Children's:
Adolescence can be stressful—even for physically healthy teens. Having a condition like MGD during adolescence further complicates life for teenagers.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”