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AMA Calls for Modernizing Birth Certificate Policies

Requirements for Changing Sex Designations Do Not Reflect Current Medical Options

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - June 09, 2014) - The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate.

Across the country, state laws governing changes to gender makers on birth certificates are granted to applicants who change their sex by "surgical procedure" and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of "clinically appropriate treatment," as opposed to surgery.

"For many transgender people, a needless operation should not be a government requirement to amend a sex designation on a birth certificate," said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. "State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and the treating physicians."

The AMA rejected "gender affirmation surgery" as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The medical protocol for persons whose gender identity does not always align with one's anatomical birth sex recommends a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery.

The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual's birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care.

"Depending on what gender is recorded in these records, certain treatments, screening and procedures may be disallowed, despite the fact that the best practice requires adequate screening and treatment of a person, regardless of the person's gender identity or gender transition," said Dr. Hoven. "The AMA seeks to ensure that transgender patients always receive appropriate preventive care regardless of whether or not it matches with the gender on the birth certificate."

The new policy was adopted at AMA Annual Meeting during the first business session of the House of Delegates, the primary policy-making body of the nation's largest physician organization.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.

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