Unless there is a medical necessity, no.
There are several factors that make cosmetic genital surgery on
children a very bad idea. First of all the many adult women who had such surgery done
as a child or infant, strongly wish it hadn't. Second, medical technology is
constantly improving, so surgery now most likely will rule out the chance for a more
improved surgery later. In the end it is better to wait until the girl is old enough
to be a part of the decision, that way she will have less regrets and will have more
control over her own body.
As the parents of a virulized girl, my wife and I made the
decision, wholly agreed upon by both her Pediatric Endocrinoligist and well as her
Urologist, that since there is no present medical necessity for any cosmetic surgery,
we would wait. The brunt of any problems regarding the look of her genitals (awkward
questions from relative or child care workers) we gladly take upon ourselves in order
to preserve her right to be in control of what is done to her body. We also reinforce
her value and worth and gender identity. She is and always will be 100% girl, and we
will make sure she always understands that the uninformed opinions of those who do not
know better than to speak out in ignorance cannot change that.
-- Danny Carlton
For medical necessities and self-esteem
issues, it can be.
There are several factors that make
cosmetic genital surgery a good option. More adult women are beginning to
speak out saying that they have had the recent surgery techniques done by competent
doctors. They have stated that not only are they satisfied with their decision
but also wished it had been done earlier if these techniques had been available.
Medical technology has improved and may continue to do so but in those who have been
pleased by their results now it shows there is no reason to wait. It is better
to have the surgery when a child is young enough to not remember it and make for an
easier and quicker recovery period. In their teen years, being part of a
decision like this might be optimal but questionable in regards to motive and ability
to think far enough into the future to what adult life will be like. Mentally and
socially, having the surgery early on, can alleviate unnecessary awkwardness and
additional feelings of being "not normal" when medications and
other precautions they deal with already can lead to low self-esteem.
As parents of a virilized girl, my
husband and I made the decision (also wholly agreed upon by her Urologist and
Endocrinologist who presented both sides) to have the two surgeries done now.
There are treatments to prevent the total virilization from occurring in-vitro but
they are not as thoroughly tested as some would like and future ramifications are
still yet unknown. This treatment would be optimal if CAH is known to be an
outcome but since not everyone knows this first nor is it satisfactorily proven to be
completely harmless to future brain and/or physical function it is not always an
option for those concerned.
Because a body part of your child has
been altered for cosmetic or medical reasons, a child will have questions and issues
regarding the decision made for them. Our child will have no doubt that they are
valued and valuable. Loved and lovable. No matter a parents decision, all
issues can be dealt with and overcome when they arise as long as the decision was made
for the right reasons and a lot of introspection as well as research on possibilities
and capable doctors is done. It is not a decision for everyone but it can be a good