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Old 30th November 2021, 09:51 AM   #14
Louden Wilde
Critical Thinker
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: NYC
Posts: 380
Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
@Louden Wilde

I've run across people bringing up "true hermaphroditism" as an argument for sex being a "spectrum". I've looked into it as best I can, and still end up confused, because I don't have the necessary technical background.

Is it possible for someone with ovotesticular disorder to simultaneously produce functional sperm and functional ova? I have difficulty envisioning how that might work, given that the levels of testosterone needed for sperm production would likely destroy eggs... and the reduction of testosterone needed for healthy egg release would likely be insufficient to produce sperm.

There's the hypothetical case of a chimera who ends up with one fully developed ovary and one fully developed testicle... but has that ever been observed?
Good question -
there's a case of a person from the early 70s who reproduced as a male but ultimately was found to have an ovary (& fallopian tube) with what looked like some developing oocytes. He had come in complaining of impotence (note he had two children - and the analysis of his sperm suggested normal fertility). At earlier medical exams he had been thought to have one undescended testis. They decided to do an exploratory surgery and then found the female tissue.

Microscopy showed that he was mosaic - ~30% of the cells appeared to be XX - including all those surveyed in the rudimentary female reproductive tract. So - person was almost certainly a chimera (they obviously didn't do genotyping the way we would now). But he was clearly only able to reproduce as a male (they note his impotence went away after they removed the female reproductive tissue).

And that gets to what I think is the definitional problem - in other species we use the term to mean having multiple potential reproductive roles - whereas the human literature refers to anyone with some tissue from both reproductive tracts as a hermaphrodite. Meaning- it's clear there's no class of humans (or any mammal) that can reproduce as both female and male.

ETA- pdf is too big to attach (though only 915kb) - any suggestions?

Also- shouldn't this thread be under the science-math-med-tech subheading?

Last edited by Louden Wilde; 30th November 2021 at 10:15 AM.
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