What is a hermaphrodite

Sexuality: hermaphrodite - man and woman at the same time

In 1956 I was born as a “typical” girl, and that's how I grew up, ”says Freya Jung. “I never had the feeling of being different, but I liked to mess with the boys in the schoolyard.” During puberty, Freya's life changed suddenly. Normal breast growth began, but other signs of womanhood, pubic hair and menstruation, did not materialize. Her mother took her to the gynecologist, but he did not speak to her.

The pubic hair and the menstruation did not occur

Freya felt increasingly isolated and her problems could no longer be ignored. After the laparoscopy, she was told that her uterus was not formed properly and that she could not have children. Nevertheless, she married at the age of 21 and had sexual intercourse with her husband, which, however, was often painful due to the tight vagina. Heavy bleeding soon set in, whereupon Freya immediately went to the hospital - in the hope of being pregnant after all.

Hormone replacement therapy

This is where her trauma began. Freya was examined by 27 doctors for 14 days. Then they told her she was actually a man. Freya has so-called embryonic testes that produce three times as much male testosterone as a "normal" man. She felt like a "monster". She was told that the testicles had to be removed, otherwise cancer could develop. After the operation, she suffered a nervous breakdown. Only through a self-help group and hormone replacement therapy with the female sex hormone estrogen does she feel satisfied again.

The diagnosis of hermaphrodites can put a heavy strain on the psyche

“About one in 8,000 to 10,000 people in Germany is intersex. There are 100 to 160 in addition each year, in which it is recognized right at birth ”, says Professor Olaf Hiort, spokesman for the clinical research group“ Intersexuality ”at the University of Lübeck.

In the beginning we are all hermaphrodites: By the sixth week, all fetuses have systems for both sexes. Only then do the genes shape a male or female being. An XY chromosome pair causes testicles to grow, later the penis, XX leads to ovaries and clitoris. But on the way from “neutral” fetus to woman or man, nature sometimes gets in the way. Chromosomes are missing or redundant, enzymes fail, hormones fail. Doctors know dozens of disorders.

With Freya Jung, the male hormones cannot work because receptors for them are missing. The syndrome is called AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). AIS patients have testicles in their bodies and male genes, but externally they are born as girls.

Adrenal glands make too many male sex hormones