Sex assignment at birth

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Sex assignment at birth refers to the sex that an observer declares the baby to be shortly after birth. The doctor (or midwife, or whoever else is present) examines the infant and declares "It's a boy!" if a penis is present or "It's a girl!" if a vulva is present. In the case of certain intersex conditions, one may not be able to make that call, as the genitalia of the infant may be ambivalent.

A breakdown of the terms and abbreviations involved:

  • People with vulvas are declared to be "girls", and are thus "assigned female at birth" (AFAB) or "female assigned at birth" (FAAB).
  • People with penises are declared to be "boys" and thus "assigned male at birth" (AMAB) or "male assigned at birth" (MAAB).
  • Another way of stating this is to write DFAB or DMAB, the d standing for "designated".
  • Some people, especially trans people, use the term "CAFAB" or "CAMAB", the c standing for "coercively".

The terms "AMAB" or "AFAB" are generally preferred over the terms "female-bodied/male bodied" or "anatomically male/anatomically female", or "biologically male/biologically female", as these terms automatically assign a gender to certain body parts, and do not take into account the possibility that the individual in question may have undergone surgery to change their genitals. "Genetic/biological male" or "genetic/biological female" are also incorrect terms, as certain intersex conditions can cause one to have XY chromosomes but be born with a vulva, or have XX chromosomes and be born with a penis.

See also[edit]