BRUSSELS - Fourteen years ago, Karen * gave birth to a daughter. A girl like other girls, but with a Y-chromosome, that's how Karen describes it herself. This Y-chromosome caused her daughter to develop testicles during pregnancy. Her body was insensitive to the testosterone that the testicles produce, so she developed as a girl.

"For me this is not a political game, it's about my sweet, wonderful daughter"

Coincidentally, Karen knew that something like that sometimes happens. Shortly before the delivery, she saw a documentary about children born with a variation in sex characteristics. She was already startled by the lack of specific support for parents of these children. After the birth of her own child, she experienced it herself.

Nearly two percent of the population (as many as the number of redheads in the world) is born with a variation in sex characteristics. They are children with other chromosomes, reproductive organs, gonads or genitals than what is typically expected for boys or girls. How are parents and children taken care of when a baby is born with intersex in Flanders? Mother Karen, researchers Dr. Joz Motmans and Dr. Nina Callens, both associated with UGent, Piet Hoebeke, pediatric urologist and professor of Urology at Ghent University, and politician Ann Brusseel, expose the most important health and social challenges in Flanders.

Team members

Selma Franssen

Selma Franssen is a Brussels based freelance journalist.

Selma Franssen
€ 1,000 allocated on 21/12/2017.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.