The World Professional Association for Transgender Health will be lowering the recommended minimum age for gender transition surgeries, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
The health association will start recommending hormones to be taken at 14 years of age, lowering the current age recommendation by two years. They will also start recommending that some gender transition surgeries start at age 15, lowering the current age recommendation by one year, the outlet reports.
The leading transgender health association said that it would be harmful to withhold early treatment despite acknowledging the potential risks.
The updates will be included in a medical journal that is expected to be published later this year, according to the outlet who obtained an advanced copy of the changes.
Dr. Eli Coleman, WPATH's chairman of standards of care, said that transgender teens will be able to experience puberty around the same time as their peers if they start treatment earlier. However, he stressed that certain factors will be weighed into allowing an individual to transition, like parental consent and emotional maturity.
"Certainly there are adolescents that do not have the emotional or cognitive maturity to make an informed decision," Dr. Coleman said. "That is why we recommend a careful multidisciplinary assessment."
The new guidelines will keep the recommended age to start puberty blockers, which is between 8 to 13 for girls, and two years later for boys.
According to the Associated Press, health officials will suggest that sex hormones–which include estrogen and testosterone–start at the age of 14, which is a lifelong treatment. Breast removal will be suggested at the age of 15 and genital surgeries will be suggested at age 17, for both biological females and males.
Psychologist Erica Anderson, a former board member at World Professional Association for Transgender Health, resigned from her position last year after expressing concerns about the group rushing children into surgery without adequate counseling.
Although the association's new guidelines say that 8 percent of children in Western countries identify as "trans," Anderson strongly disputes that estimate and insisted that the number most likely reflects gender-questioning kids who aren't good candidates for treatment, the outlet reports.
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