Intersex infant surgery

DATE

Intersex infant surgery

Intersex infant surgery involves medical procedures undertaken on newborns or infants born with physical sex characteristics that do not fit typical definitions for male or female bodies. These surgeries are often justified as necessary for helping the child fit into societal norms and to prevent potential psychological distress associated with growing up intersex. However, such surgeries have increasingly come under scrutiny for ethical reasons and concerns about long-term impacts on the individuals' physical and mental health.

The practice has sparked a significant debate about the autonomy and rights of intersex individuals. Surgeries can cause irreversible physical harm and psychological trauma, particularly as they are performed without the consent of the child, who is too young to have a say in such life-altering decisions. Human rights organizations and many in the medical community advocate for delaying such surgeries until the individual can participate in the decision about whether they want to undergo surgery at all.

Movements toward legislative changes have gained traction in various parts of the world to protect intersex children from non-consensual medical interventions. These laws aim to postpone any surgery that is not medically necessary until the intersex individual can express their informed consent. This shift towards a more consent-based approach represents a growing recognition of the rights of intersex individuals to make their own choices about their bodies and identities.

Summary

12
Banned
12 regions (6%)
Banned
4
Somewhere in between
4 regions (2%)
Somewhere in between
63
Not banned
63 regions (32%)
Not banned
118
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
118 regions (60%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
Europe
14%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
7 regions (14%)
Somewhere in between
2 regions (4%)
Not banned
40 regions (80%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
1 regions (2%)
Oceania
0%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
regions (0%)
Somewhere in between
regions (0%)
Not banned
1 regions (7%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
13 regions (93%)
South America
25%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
3 regions (25%)
Somewhere in between
1 regions (8%)
Not banned
8 regions (67%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
North America
0%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
regions (0%)
Somewhere in between
regions (0%)
Not banned
4 regions (17%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
19 regions (83%)
Africa
2%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
1 regions (2%)
Somewhere in between
regions (0%)
Not banned
2 regions (4%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
50 regions (94%)
Asia
2%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Banned
1 regions (2%)
Somewhere in between
1 regions (2%)
Not banned
8 regions (18%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
34 regions (77%)

Timeline of intersex infant surgery

Number of countries to ban intersex infant surgery over the past 10 years.

Recent Changes

Intersex infant surgery by Country

Full ban

Intersex infant surgery is full ban in 12 regions.

  1. Asia (1)
  2. Taiwan 2018
  3. Europe (7)
  4. Albania 2020
  5. Germany 2021
  6. Greece 2022
  7. Iceland 2019
  8. Malta 2015
  9. Portugal 2018
  10. Spain 2023
  11. Africa (1)
  12. Kenya 2022
  13. South America (3)
  14. Brazil 2023
  15. Chile 2023
  16. Uruguay 2018

Parental approval required

Intersex infant surgery is parental approval required in 4 regions.

  1. Asia (1)
  2. Kazakhstan 2022
  3. Europe (2)
  4. France
  5. Italy
  6. South America (1)
  7. Colombia 1999

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