• Genital Surgeries in Intersex Children

    The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opposes medically-unnecessary genital surgeries performed on intersex children.

    Scientific evidence does not support the notion that variant genitalia confer a greater risk of psychosocial problems later in life. However, many intersex children are subjected to genitalia-altering surgeries in infancy and early childhood without their consent or assent.  Such surgeries may have irreversible effects, including but not limited to infertility, chronic pain, inaccurate sex/gender assignment, patient dissatisfaction, sexual dysfunction, mental health conditions, and surgical complications.

    The risk of neoplasia in intersex individuals is understudied and may vary by condition. Gonadectomy should not be recommended to minimize this risk without sufficient evidence. Genital surgeries should only be recommended as medically necessary for intersex infants and children for the purpose of resolving significant functional impairment or reducing imminent and substantial risk of developing a health- or life-threatening condition.

    Information regarding genital surgeries should be medically accurate, developmentally appropriate, and patient-centered to promote self-determination and self-advocacy. Decisions regarding elective gentital surgeries should be delayed until intersex children are able to actively participate in the informed consent process.

    (2018 July BOD) (October 2023 COD)