Androgen is from the Greek andros (a man), and genao (I produce). The androgens include a number of hormones, testosterone being the most predominant.

The dramatic role that androgens play in male sexual development can be deduced by observing those with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS). These individuals have the XY genotype and thus would be males were it not for the fact that they lack all androgen receptors on their cells. Consequently, in the absence of androgen stimulation, those with CAIS are females, externally appearing as normal girls or women and typically choosing a female gender identity. Internally they have no uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, and have testes in the abdomen.

Cindy Stone has complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. She is shown here at age eight and as an adult. Her thoughts about the condition, along with others with disorders of sexual development (DSDs), can be read at www.dsdguidelines.org/htdocs/parents/adults_memories.html

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