What's ISNA's position on surgery?

Classification: FAQ

Many people who know of ISNA’s work mistakenly think we are “anti-surgery.” Not at all!

Like all sane people, we believe it is appropriate to have competent surgeons perform operations necessary to resolve a life-threatening metabolic crisis. For example, if a child is born without a urinary opening, the child needs surgery to create a urinary opening. If a child has active gonadal cancer, the cancer should be treated immediately.

What about other kinds of surgeries in cases of intersex? We believe that competent patients should be allowed to get the surgeries they want after they have been fully informed of the risks and benefits (and the evidence, or lack thereof, for both). They should be given access to expert, humane surgeons, as well as peer support before and after their procedures.

What we object to are elective surgeries done on people (usually children) without their informed consent. Such surgeries subject patients to unnecessary harm and risk.

For more on our recommendations, see our FAQ, What does ISNA recommend?