Unusually High Number of Pseudohermaphrodites in Gaza Blamed on In-Breeding
Last year Ola was your average Palestinian girl attending girl’s school and wearing headscarves. Today Ola is struggling with the difficulties of life in Gaza as a boy. Ola cut her hair and began attending boys school this year after it was discovered that she was a male pseudohermaphrodite.
The rare condition is blamed on Gaza in-breeding.
There are an unusually high number of male pseudohermaphrodite births in the Gaza neighborhood of Jabalya, where Nadir and Ahmed live.
Dr. Jehad Abudaia, a Canadian-Palestinian pediatrician and urologist practicing in Gaza, says he has diagnosed nearly 80 cases like Nadir’s and Ahmed’s in the last seven years.
“It is astonishing that we have [so] many cases with this defect, which is very rare all over the world,” Abudaia says. He attributes the high frequency of this birth defect to “consanguinity,” or in-breeding.
“If you want to go to the root of the problem, this problem runs in families in the genes.” Abudaia says. “They want to get married to cousins… they don’t go to another family. This is a problem.”