Intersex surgery is a surgery associated with a “disorder” known as intersex. This is a terminology umbrella term generally encompassing various conditions in which the internal and external sex organs of an individual may develop differently than for the normal boy or girl. The anatomical or chromosal sex of the person therefore is not completely male or female. There is a variety of this kind of intersex variations.For instance in some individuals this genital complications will be evident clearly at birth. On the same note, for others this condition may appear clearly male or female however the internal characteristics of sex for example the chromosomes are not exclusively male or female. Despite all these challenges intersex individuality face, they all have equal rights and need to be treated in the same manner just the way every other normal individual is treated. Intersex surgery therefore is a kind of surgery adopted by various medical practitioners all over the world with an aim of helping the victims especially in the circumstance where it is medical emergency or with an aim of treating a malfunction of disease. It can also be adopted among the infants so as to make the body gain normalcy either to appear more male or female.
However despite this action having various significance in the lives of both the adults and infants, at some point they may lead to greater problems especially to the infants later when they grow in future. This process is associated with risks in infants such as the following. Possible complications from surgery such as haemorage.This is a condition associated with severe bleeding condition encountered by victims after undergoing this process of intersex surgery. This may in turn lead to losing a lot of blood hence putting the victims at a greater risk of health problems such as fainting. Fainting is a problem associated with insufficient supply of oxygen in the brain.Therefore when the surgery is not done carefully the patient may end up losing a lot of blood making them vulnerable to these challenges such as fainting, feeling sick and other complications associated with insufficient blood supply.
The surgery is irreversible. Despite the medical community playing a major role in the recent past in order to make progress in intersex care, the negative effect that this process cannot be reversed still remains.This is simply because the surgery can inflict irreversible physical and psychological harm among the patient victims. It is therefore much appropriate that before the child or adult undertakes this kind of surgery those involved medical practitioners should be highly qualified so as to ensure no errors are committed that may end up placing the life of the victim at risk.
Another problem of undertaking this surgery among the children is that the infant may undergo the surgery aimed at assigning them as male or female yet grow up to identify that they are different sex altogether. This is very traumatizing since at the old stage and even before, the reverse is not possible. This will then lead the patient into a traumatic situation since it is really disappointing because maybe at infant the process was done against their will because it was the parent’s decision. It is therefore much better if the victims could be left to grow until when they can make their own personal decisions such that in case things go the other way round at least they are in a position to blame themselves and even by then at least they will have realized what is the dominant nature part of them. This may put the child to suffer seriously psychologically due to psychological damage.
Another major problem that may be associated with this intersex surgery is that the child may not have an opportunity to express their gender. Now according to the human rights watch every individual has got all rights equal to the other and deserves to be respected. You find that now as a child when they are undertaken through this process at such a fragile age,you deny them an opportunity to freely express and show out what their gender truly is but not from the perspective of what the parents and the involved parties such as the medical practitioners say. It should be clear to these individuals, that is, medical practitioners and the broader community that several factors can play a major role in contribution to gender and identity and that the particular gender outcome of individuals depends on individual circumstances therefore they should not advocate on what is to be done on behalf of the innocent child.
The surgery can lead to lifelong sterilization as well as infertility. Take for example the surgery to remove the gonads without the knowledge of the patient.This is one of the greatest risks of undertaking this surgery especially without consulting the patient about the absurd effects of it. Removal of gonads requires a lifelong hormone replacement therapy. You find that the operation trying to alter the size of the genitals or simply the appearance of the children’s’ genitals puts them at a risk such as lack of sensation and this finally turns into psychological trauma. Later in future it becomes a big problem to handle because the nerves are limited and cannot re-grow hence limiting an option for future surgery. This is therefore a risky kind of procedure in the field of medicine and the practitioners need to deeply look and consider everything and ensure that all is safe before commencing the surgery on the innocent patients.
Mental anguish is also another challenge associated with this surgery. According to the human rights watch, intersex individuals who undertake this surgery always show that feeling of disappointment because they experience contemptuous language from the doctors which to some extent may be so discouraging. The idea of continuous and repeated medical examinations,lots of photographs being taken during this process also being frequently exposed to multiple of medical practitioners may lead to a lot of mental torture and anguish. They have got that feeling of being reaped off their privacy which would not be acceptable ethically especially in any other circumstances.As a result of such like effects you find that many of these intersex individuals have made some sought of horror experiences with doctors many years after the surgery when trying to get hold of a doctor or they simply try to avoid seeking medical assistance all together and this may be very dangerous because they require time to time medical checkup.
Despite all this negativeness associated with this intersex surgery, there are only two possible circumstance when this method can be recommended and be of a greater use.These are one, in the circumstance when where there is a medical emergency and life has to be saved for example in a case of malfunction. In this circumstance then it is advisable that this surgery can be carried out so as to help the life of the patient thus removing his or her life out of danger. For example in a situation where you want to guarantee the passage of urine.
The second scenario maybe when the internal organs are outside the body.Other than these two circumstances, it is viewed that in case the surgery is carried out it is purely cosmetic and completely unnecessary. That is why in some states such as the United States of America, they proposed to do away with this idea of intersex surgery especially on the infants until they are of age to consent.
Since this act of intersex surgery has taken over in the field of medicine despite various organizations and institutions campaigning against its existence, various steps for example have been taken to try and minimize this practice which in turn tend has tended to create much more harm than the positive part of it. Taking Australia, for example, it has set up various human right issues particularly relevant to the infants to help curb this practice and is only applied when the intersex surgery is necessary, that is, when the rights comply. For example In Australia a guardian or a parent is normally given an opportunity to consent on behalf of the child only when the child is unable to do so. However he or she is required to have all the facts to make such a crucial decision and that decision must be in regards to the Child’s main interest. This helps in preventing the idea of parents just coming up and making personal decision without considering the interest of the child but of their own.
Also in trying to handle this issue, Australians have dictated in their human rights regarding to the intersex community that in some situations such as gender reassignment surgery, a parent is not allowed to dictate for the child to undergo the surgery. At this juncture all is left on the hands of the court to preside over the issue by letting the legal actions take its course. This is because in all actions and decisions affecting that innocent child including even those made by medical practitioners at the end of the day is in the best interest of the child which must be taken into account being that they are the victims. Parents can have primary key decisions on behalf of their children yes but the government can come in between if the child’s basic rights need to be protected.
Also to help in regulating this practice that tends to manipulate rights of children at their tender age mostly because at that age they do not have much say regarding on what decision is taken for them so as to protect these intersex communities from cosmetic and unnecessary intersex surgeries, some advocates have sworn in affidavits with a claim that despite the improvement as seen in the medical sector which allow for the better determination of an individual child’s gender,advocates argue that irreversible gender related surgery does not always need to occur at birth rather they are calling for studies that investigate whether the positive effects of intersex surgeries outweigh the potential risks. They have also claimed for more and adequate information to be availed to the public majorly to the parents and children about the intersex conditions so that before they undertake the surgery which in most times does not end up well, other varied options should be availed so that to facilitate informed consent.
In addition, the world in general is working on the universally applicable principles to guide the individuals on the decision made relating to the infant who are intersex before being dragged into undertaking the intersex surgery. These principles may include; first minimizing physical risk to a child. This principle is aimed at preventing this children from undergoing severe some physical challenges they may encounter at a later stage of their development for instance where the surgery was wrongly done and another one needs to be done.Since the nerves can no longer grow in those areas then it becomes a big problem to handle among the victims.
The second principle is concerned with living options open for the future. By this it gives children time to grow and be able to make their own decisions based on their own personal interest rather than decisions being made on their behalf. This makes them freely express their will since they are entitled to their own personal opinions. This leads to a lot of respect from both the society and the intersex community leading to a peaceful co-existence.Another crucial and very important principle is preserving potential for fertility. You find that this process of intersex surgery majorly affect the fertility of the children. For instance when the gonads are operated this may lead to making the individual sterile other than requiring the lifelong replacement of the hormones. Therefore to prevent this menace unless the surgery is very urgent, it should not be carried out.
Another principle is to minimize the psycho social risk to the child. This is one of the risks children undergo through mental torture as a result of frequent undertaking of medical examination and photographs during and after the intersex surgery. Since they have to seek frequent medical attention and being exposed to different medical personnel regularly,they have a feeling of their privacy to have been breached leading to a terrible mental anguish and mental torture to an extent in which they are not even willing to seek medical attention anymore and this is very dangerous for their health. Therefore from these principles, it is wise for individuals to analytically examine their children’s best interest in relation to surgery on an infant who is intersex. It is therefore necessary for them to consider the pros and cons in regards to the interest of the child. Since this act of intersex surgery may have dire consequences for a child’s rights it is therefore necessary to try and find out whether there are other ways other than the surgery in which the interest of the children can be achieved. For example, counseling to the parents and the entire community at large will help in alleviating the notion parents have that their children will be rejected in the community.
Any actions regarding children’s best interest require a lot of consideration of modern medical research so as not just to undertake the process without considering both sides of the coin. That is why there is an increasing awareness among the medical practitioners and the entire community at large so as to only ensure that all surgery carried out to the intersex children is medically necessary and not for cosmetic reasons. This is because in very rare occasions there is very little or no evidence that these intersex surgeries have improved quality of lives for intersex individuals
In conclusion now we can evidently see some of the devastation caused by some of these unnecessary surgeries on innocent intersex infants. The reductions are clear and very traumatizing especially when you are a victim. There are a lot of cries and especially cases filed in the courts by victims and parents who according to them the process has left a serious negative impact greater than they what they expected on their children. From various activists and human right watch,the experience of those who have undergone the surgery along with principle of medical ethics suggest that not unless the time will come when the number of benefits of specific surgical procedures outweigh the various harm then they should be adopted and if not they should be pitched.