Hermaphroditism is a proper term of biology and zoology that serves to refer to all those organisms that contain both genders, male and female, in the same individual.
The word comes from the term hermaphrodite, which in turn is comes from the name of the Greek god Hermaphrodito, son of Hermes and Aphrodite.
Hermaphroditism in botany and zoology
There are several species of plants and animals in which each of their individuals possess both sexes. This type of living beings has the ability to produce gametes of both genders at the same time.
In the case of hermaphrodite flowers, these have stamens with anthers and stigma, sexual organs of both sexes. This type of plants reproduces by itself, that is, it does not need pollination by an external factor. For example: chili pepper and tomato.
In the case of animals, as a general rule, this type of organisms does not self-reproduce, but also requires fertilization through a pair. For example: snails and frogs.
An exception to this rule are tapeworms, capable of reproducing themselves.
Hermaphroditism in humans
When a person is born with traits of sexual organs of both sexes at the same time they are said to be hermaphroditic or suffering from hermaphroditism.
Unlike plants and animals with this characteristic, where hermaphroditism is characteristic of its nature, in humans this condition is exceptional and is the result of a disorder of sexual development.
Even if a hermaphrodite person may have ovaries and testicles, he is not able to reproduce eggs and sperm at the same time, since some of the sexual systems develop poorly.
For this reason, today specialists have displaced the use of the term hermaphroditism by intersexuality, since in reality the affected person does not possess the genitals of both sexes, but only features with an uneven development, which implies that one of These does not fulfill its function.
This occurs when there is a contradiction between chromosomal sex and its genitals. Therefore, the condition of hermaphrodite is congenital although it can manifest itself at any time after birth. In no case should it be confused with gender dysphoria or transsexuality.