During the years I have spent working with desert tortoises, the one thing that I am continuously asked is “How do you know if it is a female or a male?
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Dear Reader, Whether you're simply curious about the logistics of surgery or this is something you'd like to consider for yourself, props for asking this important question!
There are a few different kinds of gender reassignment surgeries to highlight.
In addition, intersexed persons, those born exhibiting a mixture of male and female genitals, may also consider themselves part of the transgendered community and may or may not elect to undergo hormonal and/or surgical treatments to align their external genitals to their gender identity.
A sex change requires several steps, the last of which is gender reassignment surgery (GRS).
But once a tortoise reaches adulthood, I find that the best way to identify the sex is to look at the plastron (the lower shell); but please do not flip a tortoise on its back, since that can be very stressful to the animal.
If you lift the tortoise just slightly off the ground and get down there with him or her, you will see that a male desert tortoise has a concave plastron, or an indented curve, toward the tail end.
Boston Medical Center endocrinologist Joshua Safer says he, too, has fielded such requests among a small number of his transgender patients.
With each patient, the subsequent conversations were an exercise in tamping down expectations.
When Mats Brännström first dreamed of performing uterus transplants, he envisioned helping women who were born without the organ or had to have hysterectomies. Two years ago, in a medical first, he managed to help a human womb–transplant patient deliver her own baby boy. But his monumental feats have had an unintended effect: igniting hopes among some transwomen (those whose birth certificates read “male” but who identify as female) that they might one day carry their own children.