AIS and 5ARD

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An illustrated introduction to Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) and Five-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency (5-ARD), which are conditions in which a 46,XY person’s body does not respond to androgens (the ‘masculinization’ hormones) in the usual way. In people with XY chromosomes and AIS or 5-ARD, the testes produce androgens (meant to develop male genitals before birth and an adult male body type at puberty) but the body either does not respond at all, or responds in a different way. There are two types of AIS: complete AIS (CAIS), where the body does not respond to androgens at all, resulting in testes and typical female external genitals; and partial AIS (PAIS), where the body responds only partially and to varying degrees, resulting in testes and a range of genital body types between typically female or typically male. People with 5-ARD might also be born with genitals that do not look exactly like typical female or typical male genitals.