How can I get my old medical records?

If you know that you were identified as having an intersex condition as an infant, you may want to try to get your old medical records.

But if you do know that you have an intersex condition, we encourage you to try to get copies of your medical records. Many of us have found it invaluable to obtain copies of our medical records, especially those of our births or early genital surgeries. The medical information and the emotional confirmation of what was done to us as children and how we were evaluated by medical personnel helps us to heal. With this information we can better know ourselves and understand who we are.

In the U.S., if an institution or a physician has your records, you have a legal right to a copy of those records, no matter how old. Until recently, hospitals rarely discarded old records. Sometimes they are moved into warehouses or onto microfilm. Now there is a trend to throw out old records. You may be able to obtain your records by having a physician request them.

If your records are not easily found and your first request is refused or ignored, you may be able to enlist the help of a records clerk. Try telling your story; if you can enlist his or her sympathy, the clerk may be willing to look harder for records misfiled or stored in a warehouse or on microfilm. Showing up in person at the hospital or office may help.