Sex At The Olympics: An Update

I was not surprised to see an article in today’s NYT describing the “fall-out” from the new IOC guidelines for sex-verification at the Olympics, which I wrote about the other day.  The article is entitled, “Sex-verification policy is criticized as a failure,” and written by Juliet Mazur, the same author of the earlier report.  As  expected, various sex-verifiction “experts” have criticized the new rules as ridiculous, but as I wrote in my earlier entry, I’m not so sure the new rules are all that bad even though they are not very physiologically sound.  Apparently, the IOC will investigate any “suspicious cases” and will try to determine if the male-level serum testosterone level in a person who is registered to compete in the Olympic Games as a female is likely to give the individual a competitive advantage.  At least this answers my concern about a female with an androgen-resistance syndrome such as testicular feminization who would have a male-like serum testosterone level unless she had  a previous gonadectomy (to prevent gonadal neoplasia).  Such a person would have no competitive advantage from the male-like serum testosterone levels.  But what about a partial androgen-resistance syndrome?  In a way I feel sorry for the IOC; whatever their sex-verification policy might be, it will be open to criticism.  I can assure you, we haven’t heard to last of this business.  But, apparently, the new policy will not be ready for the London Games this summer; it’s up to each country to sort out whether its female athletes are female enough, whatever that means?

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