1902 Encyclopedia > Abnormal Development & Congenital Malformations > Hermaphroditism

Abnormal Development and Congenital Malformations
(Part 7)

(7) Hermaphroditism

Although this anomalous condition does not fall under defective closure in the middle line, it may be said to be du to a similar failure of purpose, or to an uncertainty in the nisus formatives at a corresponding stage of development. There is a point of time, falling about the eighth week, up to which the embryo many develop either the reproductive organs of the male or the reproductive organs of the female ; in the vast majority of cases the future development an growth are carried out on one line or the other, but in a small number there is an ambiguous development or doubtful sex. The primary indecision, so to speak, affects only the ovary or testis respectively, or rather the common germinal ridge out of which either may develop; the uncertainly in this embryonic sexual ridge sometimes leads actually to the formation of a pair or ovaries and a pair of small testes, or to an ovary on one side and a testis on the other ; but when there is no such double sex in the essential organs (as in the majority or hermaphrodites) there is great deal of doubling and ambiguity entailed in the secondary or external organs and parts of generation. Those parts which are rudimentary or obsolete in the male but highly developed in the female, and those parts which are rudimentary in the female but highly developed in the male tend in the hermaphrodite to be developed equally, and all of them badly. In some cases the external organs of the opposite sex. It has been observed that when middle life is reached or passed the predominance in features, voice, and disposition leans distinctly towards the masculine side. The mythological or classical notions of hermaphroditism, like so much else in tradition of teratology, are exaggerated.

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