A Guide to Fundraising for Gender Confirmation Surgery Costs

| 5 min read Fundraising Strategy

While transitioning is different for everyone, many transgender people can begin to feel more at peace with themselves, both mentally and physically, once they start transitioning. One of the biggest challenges, though, is the high cost of gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy. If you’ve been thinking about how to pay for gender confirmation surgery and need some help, this guide will help you navigate what financial options are available to you. 

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Health insurance coverage for gender transition

If you’re wondering, “What is gender confirmation surgery going to cost?” then the first place to start is with your health insurance coverage. With or without insurance, sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) aren’t cheap. Though many insurance plans are starting to cover both, it’s completely dependent on the provider and your plan type, so it’s a good idea to start by finding out exactly what they cover. 

Gender confirmation surgery costs

TRANSGENDER WOMEN (MALE TO FEMALE SURGERIES)

For those transitioning from male to female, insurance companies typically cover the following surgeries:

  • Clitoroplasty
  • Labiaplasty
  • Orchiectomy
  • Penectomy
  • Urethroplasty
  • Vaginoplasty

These surgeries strictly focus on the genitals, so any other surgeries like a breast augmentation or facial feminization surgery would need to be paid for out of pocket. Full facial feminization surgery done by a plastic surgeon can cost up to $52,500, while the cost of breast augmentation surgery can be anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000.

While not all patients want every single gender reassignment surgery, it’s important that they get the surgeries that are most important to them. If not covered by insurance, many decide on only having the orchiectomy, as that stops your body’s natural production of testosterone. It’s also a less invasive surgery that typically takes less than an hour, and recovery is expected in 2-4 weeks.

TRANSGENDER MEN (FEMALE TO MALE SURGERIES)

When transitioning from female to male, the most common surgery is top surgery or a bilateral mastectomy. This allows transgender men to express their gender identity while still having time to save for their gender confirmation surgery, if not paid for by their insurance. As an example, United Healthcare covers the following surgeries:

  • Hysterectomy
  • Metoidioplasty
  • Penile prosthesis
  • Phalloplasty
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy
  • Scrotoplasty
  • Testicular prosthesis 
  • Urethroplasty
  • Vaginectomy

Consider crowdfunding your gender transition

When insurance policies seem to change on a regular basis, crowdfunding sites like GoFundme are an option that many turn to during their transition. While being vulnerable on the internet may seem intimidating, many have supportive communities who are more than willing to fund their procedures. For a transgender person, surgery can be a long process when the cost of procedures is very high. So, providing extra financial support for their procedures will allow them to receive their reassignment surgery much quicker.

To see others who have started fundraisers to pay for transition, visit GoFundMe’s Be Yourself page. Or, take a look at our medical crowdfunding guide for more ideas. 

A fundraiser is an opportunity to connect

A fundraiser for gender transition is about more than the money you raise for your sex reassignment surgery. It’s an opportunity for you to tell your story, connect with people, and receive support from friends, family, and community members—even from strangers around the world who might also be going through gender confirmation surgery.

Build bridges with your transition story

Any successful fundraiser starts with honest storytelling. Telling your story requires courage and authenticity, but always put your safety and privacy first. By telling your story with clarity and heart, you inspire compassion and understanding.

Think about how you frame your story. In books and movies, people care about characters who want something badly and are having (challenging yet surmountable) trouble getting it. Don’t be afraid to show your flaws: People often feel a greater connection to imperfect characters who are doing their best under extreme circumstances. For more tips on telling compelling stories that inspire others to give, take a look at our blog post on effective fundraiser storytelling.

Use photos and videos

Another way to make your story feel more personal—and to increase donations—is to use plenty of photos and video. Compelling images also help other people share and tell your story through social media. In addition to using photos and video on your fundraiser page, be sure to include them in the updates you post for donors throughout your gender confirmation surgery fundraiser.

Example: Maria shares her history of exploring her gender identity

Like many who struggle with body dysphoria, Maria had a history of questioning who she was, and if there was something wrong with her. After her college roommate found women’s clothing in her dresser, she was called hurtful slurs. 13 years and many therapy appointments later, Maria is excited to take the next step in her transition through gender confirmation surgery. Though insurance covers part of it, Maria leaned on her community by creating a GoFundMe to cover the remainder of the transgender surgery costs.

Start your gender reassignment surgery journey today

A gender-affirming surgery is a way to help you live authentically and feel safe. While the cost of gender reassignment surgery is high, online fundraising through GoFundMe is a way you can find a supportive community that wants to help. When you find surgery assistance through GoFundMe, you’ll also find a space that welcomes your transition and believes in you.

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Written by GoFundMe Team