Columbia University Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
August 16, 2010

Each year in the United States, perhaps a few dozen pregnant women learn they are carrying a fetus at risk for a rare disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The condition causes an accumulation of male hormones and can, in females, lead to genitals so masculinized that it can be difficult at birth to determine the baby's gender. A [controversial] hormonal treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying such infants… "It would be much less of a controversy if the treatment was just given to CAH girls," said Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and a prominent researcher on disorders of sexual development in children. But, he says, "to effectively treat one fetus, you have to treat seven others."

 

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