OPINION

Addressing gaps in care of people with conditions affecting sex development and maturation

Abstract

Differences of sex development are conditions with discrepancies between chromosomal, gonadal and phenotypic sex. In congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, a lack of gonadotropin activity results primarily in the absence of pubertal development with prenatal sex development being (almost) unaffected in most patients. To expedite progress in the care of people affected by differences of sex development and congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, the European Union has funded a number of scientific networks. Two Actions of the Cooperation of Science and Technology (COST) programmes — DSDnet (BM1303) and GnRH Network (BM1105) — provided the framework for ground-breaking research and allowed the development of position papers on diagnostic procedures and special laboratory analyses as well as clinical management. Both Actions developed educational programmes to increase expertise and promote interest in this area of science and medicine. In this Perspective article, we discuss the success of the COST Actions DSDnet and GnRH Network and the European Reference Network for Rare Endocrine Conditions (Endo–ERN), and provide recommendations for future research.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank all members and participants of both COST Actions for their continuous support and active input.

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The authors contributed equally to all aspects of the article.

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Correspondence to Olaf Hiort.

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Nature Reviews Endocrinology thanks C. H. Gravholt and the other, anonymous, reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Related links

CHUV: www.chuv.ch/en/hhn/hhn-home/

COST Action DSDnet: www.dsdnet.eu

DSD-Life: https://www.dsd-life.eu/

DSDnet: www.dsdnet.eu

Endo–ERN: https://endo-ern.eu/

European Commission European Reference Networks: https://ec.europa.eu/health/ern_en

GnRH Network: www.gnrhnetwork.eu

I-CAH Registry: www.i-cah.org

I-DSD Registry: www.i-dsd.org

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Hiort, O., Cools, M., Springer, A. et al. Addressing gaps in care of people with conditions affecting sex development and maturation. Nat Rev Endocrinol 15, 615–622 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41574-019-0238-y

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