Parents sue hospital for 'medically unnecessary' sex assignment of infant

Share with your friends

Boy born with both sex organs had boy parts removed as infant, parents now suing. Photo via

Boy born with both sex organs had boy parts removed as infant, parents now suing. Photo via

The adoptive parents of an 8-year-old South Carolina boy are suing the Medical University of South Carolina, Greenville Hospital System and the South Carolina Department of Social Services because they say the hospital and DSS acted irresponsibly and inhumanely when they chose the sex assignment of their adopted son and surgically removed his male reproductive organs in 2006.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday morning in federal court in Charleston.

At the time, the child was almost a year old when he had the sex assignment surgery. He was in the custody of the Department of Social Services at the time. Doctors chose to remove his male genitalia because he was born with a rare condition called ovotesticular disorder of sexual development (OT-DSD). The disorder is also known as hermaphroditism, where a baby is born with ovaries and testicles, a rare intersex condition.

According to The Post and Courier, the infant was taken from his biological mother because she was deemed “unfit” and his father had abandoned him. The baby, who was surgically decided upon to be a girl by his physicians, was adopted by Mark and Pam Crawford who now claim the doctors made the wrong choice.


The baby they adopted as a girl clearly identifies with a male gender, his parents say.

The Crawfords feel the hospital stole the child’s right to decide for himself which gender he identified with. The surgery is irreversible.

Pam Crawford said of the lawsuit, “His choice has been taken from him. It’s too late for our child. We want it to stop for other children.”



Share with your friends

  • Poppy Potts

    well thats stupid to encourage her to be a boy when she is a girl they need to remove the child from this couple if they can’t treat the child in a normal manner

    • JA

      They’re not encouraging anything. The child is how he is. He WAS born that way, you can’t say he’s a female because they TOOK his testicles away. That doesn’t make sense and has nothing to with the psychy of the child, nor their hormones.

    • Monica Jesensky

      Perhaps you should consider learning about brain gender. Sometimes just like in this child’s case where the outer physical gender was both genders at birth, the inner gender of the mind can also differ from the external gender. Try sometime considering if your gender were altered physically but your brain still thought you to be whatever gender you currently are before that change .. how you might feel trapped in a mismatched gender. It does not matter what the parents may feel .. if this child feels they should have been male not female who are you to judge the parent or the child for that? Perhaps you do not know that the percentage of children with the condition of a brain gender which does not match the outer gender surviving to adulthood is very slim. Many attempt suicide if they are hindered from help with the issues of gender. You may not understand the issues behind this .. but please do not judge a parent as wrong for trying to make it less likely the DSS or some other agency decides for a child in the future who is born with both genders physically .. which gender that child is going to be assigned to and has that child operated on without the child ever having the chance to decide. Consider for a moment if that child had been you and your present personality as whatever gender you believe yourself to be was not the gender you physically were allowed after some agency had you operated on before you were of age of consent to decide for yourself which you wanted to actually choose of a mixed gender body Male or Female. They are doing this to stop that from happening to another child. Should they get money from this and use it to help the child rectify as much of the on purpose mistake made by DSS and that hospital .. then whom is to say this is wrong? For in reality .. it is correct. The hospital and the DSS should be caused to pay to correct such a judgement they made against another’s body before the child was of age of consent to decide for self or prevent a incorrect choice. Perhaps you should read more about intersex conditions also called ovotesticular disorder of sexual development .. before you try making such a statement against the parents. It has been proven that forcing a child whom has been wrongly assigned a specific gender to assume that gender when they do not feel they are that gender .. is not only unethical but is also what leads many such cases to suicidal ideation. The only way to fix that problem is to allow the child to be whom they feel they were meant to be as much as is physically possible. — Monica

    • The child HAD MALE GENITALIA, and THE DOCTORS REMOVED IT. Try reading the article next time.

    • Guin

      You lack reading comprehension skills.

    • Jeff Cowsert

      Poppy Potts, I didn’t see anything in the article that stated that the
      parents “encourage her to be a boy”. They said that the child “clearly
      identifies with a male gender”.

  • Gina King

    As someone who is Intersex and had surgery at a young age I can say that anyone making this kind of decision that affects anothers life so fundementally is insane. The only thing a child needs to be able to do for the first 15 years of life is pee and poo without issues. Reproductive systems are not needed until adulthood and are merely decrotative until adulthood. Between infancy and adulthood puberty as we all know provides huge chnages in our bodies. Things grow, shrink or just change. But this infant has had their life fundementally changed by people who didn’t care about the individual but about how they felt or will feel. This has to change to allow the child to grow up, to see which way the body and the person will grow and allow them the most basic freedom of all. To be themselves unhindered by bigotry and baseless fear.
    And if I am reading this right, the child had a penis with either visible decended or palpaple gamet (ovo-testicular) bodies and a vaginal canal. The only way to verify ovo-testis is biopsy. Its implied that the gamet bodies and penis were removed leaving the vaginal canal. The reason why this is so horrific is because removal of the penis means the child won’t be able to attain orgasam as an adult. Removal of the gamets (ovo-testis) means the child won’t be able to have children (which is possible if left in place and HRT started early on to assist in differentiation) and if the child is 46XY then the psudo vaginal canal may very well atrophy and diminish to nothing as the childs body ages in to a male adulthood. These kinds of thigs happen to all males in utero but for some they need a little bit of help and support after birth to allow the body to finish its work forming the reproductive system. I will be rooting for the adoptive parents and hope they can return the ‘favor’ the doctors did.

  • James3D

    Genital surgery on children is abuse. Al children have a right to the body they were born with. Genital surgery should only be between fully informed and consenting ADULTS.

  • It is disgusting and barbaric for doctors to be performing cosmetic “gender assignment” on non-consenting children. Why I am not surprised this is standard practice in the US, though?

    The arrogance of this crime and its devastation on the victim are beyond comprehension

    • PS why is “medically unnecessary” in quotes in the title? Is there any inkling of doubt or debate about this being medically unnecessary?

      • James Adam Robson

        It’s in quotes to show that it’s part of an actual statement made by someone involved in the case, and not just an opinion of the newspaper’s staff. Fairly standard practice in literary journalism, but often misunderstood these days because the Internet has blurred the line between “news stories” and “editorials.”

  • Jonathon Conte

    The genital mutilation of any child—male, female, or intersex—ought to be illegal. All individuals have a human right to bodily integrity which of course includes genital integrity.

  • Megan Lioness

    This story just broke my heart into a million little pieces. Doctors should not be allowed to tamper with the genitals of any child.period. This is the type of malicious nonsense that happens when the genital cutting of boys is deemed as the social norm. When children are born with this condition, 99% of the time the doctors remove the male genitalia. It’s so flipping wrong and needs to stop right this instant. People should be allowed to decide *on their own* what they want their genitalia to look and function like- no matter what.

  • Jeff Cowsert

    What a horrible choice to take from someone. Adults do NOT know what a child may want when they grow up. They need to stop chopping off parts of other anther human being’s reproductive system with the idea that “they will want this”. All sex assignment and cosmetic surgeries such as circumcision of boys and girls genitals need to stop. There is no way a parent or doctor can possibly know what a child will want as an adult when they don’t even know if they are left or right handed, what their favorite color will be…….. This is all horrible and wrong – STOP IT!