What Is the Best Country for Gender Reassignment Surgery?

An analysis of surgery prices and transgender rights across the 10 most popular countries.

In light of a recent Vatican document that contends that "any sex-change intervention" threatens human dignity, there has been renewed debate on the subject. Recognizing the importance of accessible gender reassignment procedures, Healthnews presents a detailed analysis of their costs across various countries.

This analysis compares the costs associated with gender reassignment surgeries across 10 different countries renowned for such procedures. The selection of countries is determined by how frequently they are mentioned in medical tourism literature, online forums, and health news.

The focus is on essential treatments that are commonly sought during gender transition, including chest surgery and phalloplasty for FtM (female-to-male) transitions and breast augmentation, facial feminization surgery, and vaginoplasty for MtF (male-to-female) transitions.

Methodology

Pricing data was compiled from an average of 30 sources per country, including local surgical practices, online health forums, and healthcare price comparison platforms. The reported average price is an arithmetic mean calculated from the prices of a specific surgery.

Prices were initially collected in the respective local currencies and were later converted to USD for consistency. The conversion rates reflect the values at the time of data collection in April 2024.

When it comes to assessing the costs of facial feminization surgery (FFS), we evaluated the full package typically offered by clinics. These procedures may include forehead contouring, rhinoplasty, cheek augmentation, chin and jaw reshaping, tracheal shave, lip augmentation, and hairline lowering, depending on the individual's needs and the clinic's offerings.

The presented costs offer a general overview of the expenses involved and do not account for factors such as insurance, public healthcare contributions, or additional surgery-related costs.

The cheapest and most expensive countries for gender reassignment surgery (GRS)

prices for gender-affriming surgeries price comparison

Turkey emerges as first for its affordability, offering surgery costs that are 68% lower than in the United States. Brazil and Argentina provide cost-effective options in Latin America, while Belgium is the most budget-friendly choice in Europe.

When it comes to specific treatments, Turkey offers the cheapest phalloplasty, facial feminization surgery, and vaginoplasty, with average costs of $9,755, $10,841, and $5,215, respectively.

South Korea offers the lowest prices for chest surgery, averaging at just $3,118. Argentina is the most budget-friendly option for breast augmentation, with an average cost of $3,716.

lowest prices worldwide for gender-affriming surgeries

Turkey leads for budget-friendly GRS

Turkey stands out as the most affordable option for gender reassignment surgery, with an average cost of $7,297. This contrasts with the popular belief that Thailand is the top destination for such surgeries — it actually ranks only fourth with an average cost of $11,096.

According to our report, Turkish gender reassignment surgery is 68% cheaper than in the U.S. Turkey has a relatively modest cost of living compared to Western countries and significantly lower clinical and laboratory fees.

Despite some historical and legal advancements, Turkey still has existing gaps in transgender rights. Reports from human rights organizations highlight ongoing violence against transgender people in Turkey. Research on gender discrimination cases in Turkish courts reveals barriers to addressing discrimination against transgender individuals, including reluctance to go to court, stereotypical attitudes, and unsatisfactory legal decisions.

Latin America dominates the top 3

Latin America has one of the cheapest gender reassignment surgeries, with Brazil and Argentina leading the way. The second-cheapest country — Brazil — offers surgeries at an average cost of $9,683. It hosts over 6,642 hospitals as of 2023, even surpassing the U.S.

However, local cases of medical negligence and unregulated cosmetic procedures have raised significant public health concerns. While Brazil has advanced in supporting trans rights (such as lowering the age for GRS), it still grapples with challenges related to public perception and violence against trans individuals.

Conversely, Argentina, priced at an average of $10,089, is noted for its progressive stance. The country's 2012 Gender Identity Law, a global first, allows individuals to legally change their gender without judicial or medical approval. Since then, the public healthcare system has covered all medical procedures, including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.

Belgium: Europe's top spot

Belgium stands out as the most affordable European country for gender reassignment surgery, with an average cost of $12,118. Known for its progressive approach to trans rights and healthcare, the country permits legal changes of gender and name without the need for medical certification.

Since 1985, the Belgian healthcare system has recognized transsexualism and endorsed sex reassignment surgery (SRS) as a standard treatment. The current government features a transgender politician, Petra De Sutter, as federal Deputy Prime Minister.

USA's sky-high costs

The United States is the least affordable country for gender reassignment surgeries due to an average cost of $23,094, limited insurance coverage, and inadequate legal protections for transgender individuals.

While there have been significant advancements in recent years, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the recognition of transgender individuals in federal policy, some states have introduced legislation restricting access to gender-affirming care for minors.

Despite these challenges, the U.S. has a well-established medical community with expertise in gender-reassignment surgeries, and there are many healthcare providers and clinics that offer these procedures. However, the high cost of healthcare and limited insurance coverage make these procedures inaccessible for many.

Table of research findings

CountryChest surgery (FtM)Phalloplasty (FtM)Breast augmentation (MtF)Facial feminization surgery (MtF)Vaginoplasty (MtF)Average cost
Turkey$6,004$9,755$4,671$10,841$5,215$7,297
Brazil$6,211$15,626$6,993$12,838$6,746$9,683
Argentina$3,812$17,379$3,716$13,549$11,988$10,089
Thailand$5,209$14,682$6,178$21,373$8,040$11,096
Belgium$4,967$16,291$4,952$27,547$6,834$12,118
South Korea$3,118$28,430$7,074$24,905$12,422$15,190
Germany$6,315$22,768$7,496$29,108$15,931$16,324
Canada$5,892$21,634$7,859$35,938$12,328$16,730
United Kingdom$9,487$34,510$7,108$36,712$16,213$20,806
United States$7,323$42,806$8,120$38,574$18,649$23,094

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