How DO you find out your sex chromosomes?
February 27, 2013 8:51 PM Subscribe
Is there a test adults can get to tell them what their sex chromosomes are, e.g. to know if they're an XX despite having male genitalia, or if they're XXY women, or any other non-binary possibility?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I appear to be unambiguously female, but I have had several reasons to wonder if, biologically, I might have something somewhat different going on:
- I have had dark, coarse facial hair since puberty. I've had to get electrolysis for this. I don't have PCOS.
- I had pubic hair for as long as I can remember, as early as four years old at least. And I don't mean just a little. When I was learning about puberty at school I was surprised to hear that people don't have pubic hair before then. To my knowledge I wasn't diagnosed with anything, though I'm not sure my parents would have said. My mom is the type that might be weird about those things.
- There's a slight extra... inch-long tentacle-y bit inside my vagina, which otherwise appears pretty normal. I've gone to a gynecologist about it and she said sometimes stuff like that happens and it's nothing to worry about, and I'm not self conscious about it. But it has made me wonder.
- This is difficult to explain because it's not binary, but you'll see why I might wonder if I have an underlying biological reason to feel so perfectly in the middle: as a child I felt more like a boy, but not to the extent that a trans man would have felt, and it didn't feel wrong to be a girl. If I had to pick a gender, I might have picked male, but I don't particularly care either way, and not in a "I'm above this or think it's stupid way," but in a "I feel both describe me fine" way. I have two trans women friends and I definitely did not have the kind of gender dysphoria they experienced as children. Today, if some people called me he and some people called me she I wouldn't care either way and could identify as either psychologically.
- I wonder if my mom found out something when I was a kid -- how do you not find a reason why your kid has pubic hair? -- and wouldn't tell me, because of some stuff she's done/said. She would not get me boys' toys or clothes even though I asked for them in addition to girl stuff, and when I was adult she said it was because she didn't want me to be a lesbian. Even though I have been married for ten years, she worried a few years ago that I might be a lesbian, despite the fact I'm SO happy in my marriage (my husband is the best person in the world) or anything like that and have never touched a woman. I am bisexual and can't tell her this because she's crazy. She's not religious or even homophobic (well, not entirely, I guess this counts some) but it strikes me more as she REALLY thought that I was destined to go that way for some reason.
For that same reason I can't ask her if she found out I had some chromosomal abnormality as a kid either because she'd just lie anyway. I could definitely see her finding out and deciding it would be better for me not to know, because she's like that and thinks everyone else is as dramatic as she is. Asking her is just off the table, especially when presumably the answer is my blood and I try to limit contact with her.
- I have extremely low cortisol but good DHEA levels, and reading about some of these sex chromosome permutations, some of them are said to interfere with cortisol production.
It is mainly the last issue now that makes me want to get tested, because curiosity alone wasn't enough before; the cortisol issue is really fucking with my life, I haven't had any luck resolving it (diets and medical stuff both), and I'm beginning to wonder if it's because the medical people are just assuming I'm an XX female. All I've been told is something is very clearly not working with my adrenal glands, and has not been working since I was a child.
When I've done bloodwork for various tests, would sex chromosomes even be something they'd notice automatically, or think to check? I'm guessing they just check for whatever hormones or thing the particular test was looking for, right? It seems like if I were intersex in some way, that would explain a lot and at least get me the appropriate help for this. It also seems like if I were intersex and didn't know, I could be in the position I am now where everyone just doesn't seem to know why my hormones are so weird and why things aren't working.
So IS there a test I can take that'll spell out my sex chromosomes? It's totally possible I have another hormonal disorder, but I'd like to narrow things down more. How do I get it? How much does it cost? etc etc...