For those experiencing discrimination or very high costs for sex change surgery, Thailand can be an attractive option.
Sex change in many countries is a taboo subject and surgery for sex change can be very expensive. Recent studies show however, that more and more transgendered people are not willing to suffer remaining in the sex of their birth.
One in 500,000 males and one in 2 million females have sought sex change surgery, according to a research paper, On the Calculation of the Prevalence of Transsexualism, by Femke Oyslager and Lynn Conway, presented to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in Chicago. Other researchers estimate that this number is increasing by 14 percent every year.
The quality of Thailand’s doctors and hospitals, low costs and hospitality of the Thai people can make Thailand an ideal destination.
What is Sex Change Surgery?
Sex change surgery, gender reassignment surgery or sex reassignment surgery (srs) are alternate names for the same procedure. Sometimes it is called male to female surgery, or the reverse. For a man, orchidectomy is an operation that will remove his testicles. Then, with vaginoplasty doctors will create a vagina for him. For a woman the procedure is more complex because her uterus, ovaries and vagina are removed. Then a penis is created for her from either her vaginal tissue, or extra intestinal tissue in a procedure called penectomy.
Usually the patient receives hormone therapy for a period of time, both before the operation and afterward. This ensures the new transsexual will have secondary sex characteristics, such as beard or breasts, can change and function along with the new genitalia.
Once the surgery is performed it cannot be reversed. So, depending on the country, or regulations of its medical profession, an individual seeking a sex change may be required to have psychiatric or psychological assessment. He or she may also be required to live for a period of time as a member of the opposite sex before being approved for surgery.
Sex Change Surgery in Thailand: Pros and Cons
- More than 50 percent cheaper than in the West.
- Highly qualified practitioners and excellent facilities. CBS recently examined the benefits of southeast Asia’s medical tourism industry on ‘60 Minutes’.
- No waiting lists
- Friendly population and service
- Tropical paradise, with many recreation and entertainment facilities especially for gay, lesbian and transgendered clientele.
- Highly recommended as a tourist destination by many major American gay and lesbian magazines. Thailand is friendly and tolerant to people who do not fit in with conventional sexual standards.
- Quality aftercare that can include resort holidays and spa stays
- Malpractice compensation may be difficult to collect if something does go wrong. Different countries have different laws and filing a lawsuit in a foreign country may be extremely challenging.
- Native bacteria and viruses to which the Thai population is immune, may infect a tourist.
Legal Requirements for Sex Change in Thailand
Before 2009 there were almost no restrictions made on tourists coming for sex reassignment surgery to Thailand. In November, 2009 new laws were passed saying:
- Anyone who wants sex change surgery in Thailand must live as the opposite sex for at least one year
- The candidate must have hormone therapy
- The approval of two psychiatrists must be obtained
- Sex change for people aged 18 to 20 must have parental consent.
This is similar to laws in many Western countries. Some jurisdictions in the U.S. and other countries do not recognize a person who has had sexual change surgery done in a foreign country as being the new sex.
Consult the Thai embassy or consulate in your area, for a full understanding of all the legal requirements and implications. Legal advice for what is accepted in your jurisdiction is highly advised.
Traveling to Thailand for Sex Change Surgery
- U.S. citizens must carry a passport and other valid travel documents, outside of the United States.
- A tourist visa for Thailand is required ONLY if a visitor plans to stay more than 30 days.
- Thailand has several Medical Tourism Operators who offer travel packages and can make the trip much easier.
The ease and affordability of sex change surgery in Thailand has made it a preferred option for many westerners.
Submit the request quote form on the right for more information on sex change in Bangkok.