Ovotestis is a hermaphroditic gonad, with both testicular and ovarian tissue. The term Ovotestis is coined up from ovary and testis. While Ovotestis is a normal feature in some animals such as gastropod Helix aspersa, it is an anatomical abnormality in humans associated with gonadal dysgenesis. A hermaphroditic reproductive organ that can produce both sperm and eggs, is found in certain gastropods. Less than 20% of people with true hermaphroditism are diagnosed before 5 years of age and about 75% are diagnosed by age 20. True hermaphroditism is a genetically heterogeneous condition caused by certain phenotypic, gonadal and molecular theoretical factors.
In such gonads the ovaries occupy normal abdominal position although sometimes they may be found at the internal inguinal ring. Many patients with true hermaphroditism have a uterus and internal duct development corresponding to the adjacent gonad. In approximately 50% of Ovotestis, there is evidence of ovulation.
Persons with true hermaphroditism have ambiguous genitalia at birth. The majority are reared as males due to the size of the phallus. However, due to the functioning of normal ovarian tissue, most of them experience breast development at puberty and abnormal menstruation cycles. Apart from these syndromes, there are not many other developmental abnormalities in these patients. The mortality rate is also not that alarming for affected individuals. They usually possess average intelligence.
Such true hermaphroditism is a rare condition and they are less than 10% of intersex cases. More than 400 such cases have been reported worldwide. Interestingly geographical variation have been noted and the highest occurrence of such cases is found in the Southern African population.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 18, 2018