It is illegal to perform surgery on anyone without their written and actual consent.

What is the importance of consent for GAT and Corrective surgery?

Last updated on Jun 16, 2022

When a person goes for any surgery including GAT or corrective surgery, remember that it cannot be done without their written consent. The age of consent for medical procedures is 18 years1, and  consent given by a person of unsound mind or a child below 12 years is not valid.2.

No one including hospitals, medical practitioners, acquaintances etc can force a person to undergo3 GAT/Corrective Surgery as a legal condition for recognizing their gender identity.

The doctor doing any surgery needs to ensure that the consent given by the person is real consent, meaning the person giving consent should4:

  • Have the capacity and competence to consent. For example, someone of unsound mind will not be able to consent.
  • Give consent voluntary. For example, if a person is being coerced by family members to undergo any procedure, it is not real consent.
  • Be based on adequate information on the treatment procedure, so that the person knows what they are consenting to. Adequate information on the procedure includes:
    • The nature and procedure of the treatment;
    • Its purpose and benefits;
    • Its likely effects and any complications which may arise;
    • Any alternatives if available;
    • An outline of the substantial risks; and
    • Adverse consequences of refusing treatment.

However, adequate information need not include remote risks, rare complications and possible results of negligent surgery.

If a person faces any discrimination while accessing medical or psychological healthcare, they can take action to alleviate the problem. Read for more options in our explainer “What are the options if there is discrimination and harassment by medical personnel against LGBTQ+ persons?

  1. Section 3, Indian Majority Act, 1875 []
  2. Section 90, Indian Penal Code, 1860 []
  3. National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India & Ors (AIR 2014 SC, 1863 []
  4. Samira Kohli v. Dr. Prabha Machanda and Ors (2008) 2 SCC 1 []

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