Sex Change Surgeries Are Now Big Business – At A Huge Cost To Taxpayers And Young People

(BEATE OMA DAHLE/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Demand for sex change operations is booming, lining the pockets of surgeons and sapping money away from taxpayer healthcare systems and young, uninsured patients.

The number of sex reassignment surgeries conducted in the U.S. surged by more than 150% from 2016 to 2017 and has continued to rise since then. In 2020, more than 16,000 “gender confirmation” surgeries were performed nationwide.

Those surgeries can be especially expensive for uninsured patients, ranging from up to $15,000 for just a genital reconstruction, to $50,000 for genital reconstruction, facial alteration and breast removal, according to Transgender Map.

Gender changes don’t stop with the surgery, though. Oftentimes, individuals who go through a gender transition will need to remain on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the remainder of their life. That can cost as much as $1,500 per year, with variations based on insurance coverage and price differences.

There are also treatments like genital electrolysis, which could be covered by insurance, but also may not be. One transgender individual profiled by CNN in 2015 had to pay a $30 copay for the process two to three times per week for the year leading up to their gender reassignment surgery. (RELATED: REPORT: Children’s Hospital CEO Doubles Down On Trans Surgeries For Minors In Letter To Employees)

The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery lists estimated prices for their procedures online. At a cost of $25,600 for bottom surgery, nearly $60,000 for “top” (breast) and body surgery and more than $70,000 for facial reconstruction. That tally puts the surgery alone at north of $150,000. Add in $1,500 in HRT annually for an average American lifespan of 79 years old, and someone who transitions at age 25 will pay well over $200,000 over their lifetime for transitioning.

If the process begins in childhood, that number will soar even higher. More and more children are being prescribed puberty blockers due to diagnoses of gender dysphoria, which they may stay on for years before undergoing a sex change operation. Those pills could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000 per year without insurance, according to one National Institutes of Health (NIH) study.

So, a child who starts puberty blockers at age 10, undergoes transition surgery at age 20 and lives to be 79 may be looking at a total cost of roughly $300,000, if not more, over the course of their lifetime. That doesn’t account for the various cosmetic procedures they may undergo on a regular basis to maintain their lifestyle, as well. (RELATED: The Clinical Steps To Grooming Kids Match Exactly How They’re Being Taught In Schools)

The cost for children is particularly notable, as an increasing number of American kids are being pushed to transition by doctors and activists who support “gender-affirming” care, a euphemism for sex changes. The surge in gender transition surgeries in recent years has largely been in young people, and the number of kids diagnosed with gender dysphoria skyrocketed by 70% from 2020 to 2021. That growth in young people is a key reason analysts project the sex change market will increase to $5 billion in the next decade.

Private insurance companies will cover many of these costs. Not every provider does, but many major insurers, from Aetna to Cigna, do. Because of an Obamacare rule preventing gender discrimination by health insurers and providers, a majority of insurers are prohibited from not covering transgender-related care, although that rule is currently being challenged in court.

For those who aren’t covered by insurance, the taxpayer may carry the load. At least 34 states cover sex change operations and support care as part of their Medicaid plans, according to one analysis conducted in 2021. As a result, while interest in sex change procedures continues to surge in kids, the number of six-figure bills footed by the American people will as well.