It is estimated that 1 in 2000 babies are born with atypical genitalia, also known as an intersex variation. In Canada, parents can consent to elective surgery to make the genitalia appear more typically female or male, but there is a growing recognition of the physical and psychological harms associated with these surgeries being performed on children too young to consent. The ability of parents to provide informed consent is hindered for reasons including a lack of information about the child’s wishes and potential framing bias by doctors. To minimize exposure to the significant risks associated with such procedures, it is recommended that Canada conduct a consultation process and a commission of inquiry to investigate current practices associated with elective genital surgeries on infants and young children. Based on those processes, minimum standards for psychological support should be established, and restrictions on early surgeries should be considered.
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