A woman with no female reproductive organs was left “devastated” after doctors found a pair of cancerous testicles inside her stomach.
Dani Coyle, from Swindon, Wiltshire, who is now 25, said she first noticed she was different when she hit puberty at the age of 10.
She said she noticed her voice lowered, which is more typical in male development, and felt "confused" when her period never came.
At 14, Dani visited the doctor, who referred her to a specialist, and tests revealed she had XY chromosomes.
Dani also had no female reproductive organs, such as a womb, and was medically considered intersex.
Further scans revealed Dani had a pair of testicles inside her stomach, which were in the early stages of cancer.
Dani said: “At 14, I was told I had ‘seventeen beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase three’ deficiency.
“My body didn’t respond ‘normally’ to the testosterone my testes produced which is why I was born, looked like, and was raised as a girl – which is lucky as I’ve always identified as female.
“I’d wished for words to explain and understand my differences for a long time. I was relieved – but scared – to finally have them.
“I was scared no one was going to love me when I found out. I was angry at the odds – why me?”
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In 2009, the suspected cancerous testicles were removed and doctors said her medical defect could be normalised through surgery.
Dani underwent external cosmetic surgery to alter the appearance of her vulva, which she says she feels as though she was forced into doing.
She hopes to raise awareness around intersex surgery – particularly on young children without their consent.
She believes raising awareness in society through education in schools could be a part of the solution.
Dani said: “I was told and believed it to be a secret that no one needed to know so I quickly underwent the surgery to remove my testes and normalise my external appearance – just as the doctors and surgeons recommended.
“I also had hormone replacement therapy – which is essentially a menopause oestrogen pill – and I thought I’d be back to being a normal girl.
“Now, I feel like these surgeries were presented as the only viable option – like I was robbed by biased doctors who work within a biased system which has caused an immeasurable amount of mental trauma."
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