Children’s hospitals nationwide will soon be faced with the decision whether to continue following the guidance of a leading transgender health association that is expected to lower its recommended ages for chest and genital surgeries to minors under 18.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has yet to release its much-anticipated Standards of Care Version 8, which will lower its age recommendations for breast removal to 15 years old, and genital surgery, including womb and testicle removal, to 17 years old – a year earlier than its previous guidance, the Associated Press reported in June, citing an unreleased draft of the new guidance.

WPATH’s earlier guidance, Standards of Care Version 7, released in 2011, specified that genital surgery should not be carried out until patients reach the "legal age of majority in a given country," and until "patients have lived continuously for at least 12 months in the gender role that is congruent with their gender identity." It also stated that chest surgeries for females transitioning to male could be performed on individuals younger than 18.

WPATH President Dr. Walter Pierre Bouman issued a statement in late July saying the new Version 8 guidance would likely be released online prior to the organization’s annual conference in Montreal on Sept. 16 but that they were in a "very tight race against time" to meet the deadline.

Transgender Pride flag

A girl holds the Transgender Pride flag during the pride march in Madrid on July 9, 2022. (Photo by Luis Soto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


With Sept. 16 quickly approaching, children’s hospitals across the country that currently follow WPATH’s guidance will soon be met with the decision whether to update their own policies to reflect WPATH’s lowered age recommendations.

Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington says on its website that individuals must be 18 for "gender-affirming genital procedures" but that the "typical age is mid-teens or older" for "other" surgeries.

"While we tailor gender-affirming surgical treatment to the individual, patients cared for at Seattle Children’s must first meet a set of specific criteria as outlined in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care," a Seattle Children’s spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "We will consider age, stage of puberty, desired future treatments, support systems and any current or past health problems before proceeding with surgery. With this in mind, the average age for gender-affirming chest surgery at Seattle Children’s is 18."

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'I'm Not a Girl' is written by Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi about a transgender child. (YouTube/Screenshot)

"Importantly, all gender-affirming surgery patients at our hospital will have already undergone years of multidisciplinary care with specialists and have been encouraged to spend at least one year in their identified gender, if they can safely and comfortably do so, before undergoing surgery," the statement added.

Seattle Children’s did not answer Fox News Digital's questions asking what is the minimum age for gender-affirming top and bottom surgeries at the hospital and how many surgeries have been performed by the hospital on individuals at that minimum age.

Asked whether Seattle Children’s will follow the WPATH's new guidance, a spokesperson said, "The gender-affirming care we provide is rooted in science and based on the international standards of care set by authoritative medical and scientific bodies – including the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), American Medical Association (AMA), the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA)."

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health in California says on its website that it offers "reconstructive chest surgery to adolescents and young adults from board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons with advanced training and exceptional approaches to top surgery." 

"We currently follow guidelines set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) for transgender and gender expansive children and adolescents, which include the recommendation to establish stable mental health support," the website states.

Stanford Children's did not respond to Fox News Digital’s inquiry on whether it will follow WPATH’s new guidance.

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Lawmakers listen as parents speak about the prospect of their children competing against transgender girls in school sports at the Utah State Capitol on March 25, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Samuel Metz, File)

The Youth Gender Program at the University of Florida recently told the Tampa Bay Times that it does not perform mastectomies on children under 16.

"Our services are consistent with the World Professional Association For Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care and focus on the biological, psychological, as well as social (biopsychosocial) components of Trans health," the program’s website states. 

Asked whether the program will follow WPATH’s new guidance, UF Professor Dr. Brittany Bruggeman told Fox News Digital, "The Youth Gender Program at UF will continue to critically re-evaluate as more evidence is presented regarding best practices for gender affirming care."

Photo showing L.G.B.T. activist in NYC holding sign reading "break the binary"

LGBTQ activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Boston Children’s Hospital faced backlash last month for performing mastectomies on teenagers as young as 15 as well as now-deleted wording on the hospital's website that claimed teens as young as 17 could get vaginoplasties. The hospital has since clarified that it only performs gender-affirming genital surgery on individuals 18 and older and issued a statement blasting the spread of "misinformation" on social media that suggested otherwise. 

Boston Children’s website currently says it follows the WPATH's guidelines "to surgically treat people who are stable in their gender identity and have documentation of persistent gender dysphoria." A spokesperson said Tuesday that it will stick with its current policy despite WPATH's updated guidance. 


"We will continue to follow our BCH policy and only provide gender-affirming genital surgeries on persons 18 and older," the spokesperson said. "The hospital considers several factors when setting its policies, including guidance and standards by national associations like WPATH, as well as the requirements of Massachusetts law."

Representatives at WPATH did not respond to Fox News Digital’s multiple requests for comment.