Report: Boston Children’s Hospital is altering approach to certain intersex surgeries for kids

The hospital will no longer perform two kinds of surgeries on children who are too young to meaningfully consent to the procedures.

–Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital will no longer be performing two types of intersex surgeries on children if the patient is too young to meaningfully consent to the procedures, The 19th reports

The hospital told the publication in a statement that it “will not perform clitoroplasty or vaginoplasty in patients who are too young to participate in a meaningful discussion of the implications of these surgeries, unless anatomical differences threaten the physical health of the child.”

The Boston hospital is the second major institution to suspend its approach to the two procedures, moves that, according to The 19th, are being hailed as a watershed moment for intersex rights by activists who have been protesting the practices for years. 

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According to The 19th, the standard medical protocol for people who are born intersex — individuals with sexual or reproductive anatomy that doesn’t align into the binary of male or female — was to use surgery and hormonal therapy to change the intersex child’s physical appearance. About 1.7 percent of people are born intersex each year, according to the publication, but some individuals also develop the anatomical traits in adolescence or childhood.

“As an intersex woman who was raised in Massachusetts, I am proud that BCH finally recognized the dignity of intersex people,” Kimberly Zieselman, the executive director of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, told The 19th. “We must be able to live free from the threat of non-consensual medical interventions based on discrimination and fear of differences in sex anatomy.”

Read the full report at The 19th.

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