Access to sex reassignment surgery

Sex reassignment surgery (also called gender confirmation surgery) is a surgical procedure, bringing a person’s physical appearance and genitals into alignment with their gender identity.

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Key aspects

  • In thirteen out of twenty-eight Member States, general surgery rules apply as regards the age at which children can request a sex reassignment surgery. In this context, the age requirement for access to medical treatment without the consent of the parents or of a public authority is 18 years in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, France, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and 15 years in Slovenia. In the United Kingdom the age requirement ranges from 16 in Scotland to 17 in England and 18 in Wales. In Belgium, Estonia, Germany and Luxembourg the child’s maturity is assessed.
  • In Austria, Czechia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden the minimum age requirement to request sex reassignment surgery is explicitly set at the age of 18.
  • Overall, twenty Member States (and Wales) only allow sex reassignment surgeries in individuals over the age of 18. Out of these, twelve Member States also set 18 as the age requirement for transgender hormone therapy, while in the case of sex reassignment surgery, eight countries (Czechia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Poland, Spain and Sweden) ask for a higher age than for transgender hormone therapy.
  • In Ireland and Malta, the age requirement for sex reassignment surgery is 16 years.
  • Croatia allows children to have sex reassignment surgery before the age of 18 if they have parental consent, without laying down any specific minimum age requirement.