Their firstborn was a girl and they were overjoyed their second child was a boy. Or so they thought...
“When the first sonar scan showed it was a girl I was bitterly disappointed,” Madeleshia Hiscock (29) says. “After our daughter, Zadeleshia (3), I really wanted a boy.”
Two further scans showed it was a boy after all – and Madeleshia was over the moon.
Kenny Hiscock was born – all male – on 15 February to Madeleshia and her husband, Kenny (30), of Vereeniging. But shortly after his birth Kenny Jnr began to lose weight and when they returned to the hospital they were given shocking news: Kenny was a girl.
He didn’t really have a penis but an enlarged clitoris. And he didn’t have testicles; the labia had grown together.
The parents couldn’t accept it at first. “We still weren’t sure,” Madeleshia says. “The doctor had told us she had too many male hormones. We were prescribed drugs and went home without really understanding what was going on.”
In May they were told that their baby was definitely a girl. They decided to call her Mckenzi.
A doctor has confirmed the child has female reproductive organs but the Hiscocks can’t afford a scan for absolute proof of it.
A doctor explained Mckenzi had congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a group of hereditary conditions where an enzyme deficiency causes abnormal hormone production by the adrenal glands. In the most common form too little of the vital hormone cortisol is produced.
The brain tries to compensate by increasing the stimulus to the adrenal glands but because the glands can’t manufacture more cortisol they produce an excess of androgens or male hormones.
The condition can occur in girls and boys, says Dr David Segal, a Johannesburg paediatric endocrinologist.
In girls the excess of male hormones will result in an enlarged clitoris and other aberrations in the sex organs.
The condition can be very dangerous in newborns because cortisol and aldosterone help regulate a baby’s salt levels, Dr Segal says.
There is no cure for CAH, which occurs in one in every 15 000 people. “It requires lifelong treatment and CAH sufferers must be monitored regularly,” Dr Segal says.
The Hiscocks now just want their child to be healthy and happy.
“I know there’s a difficult road ahead. I just wish we’d had a better idea of what to do and how to handle it,” Madeleshia says.
Read the full article in the YOU of 19 August 2010