Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5592 ..
ACT Health—intersex guidelines
(Question No 846)
Ms Le Couteur asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, upon notice, on 1 December 2017:
(1) Does ACT Health have specific policies, procedures and guidelines for responding to the birth of a child born with variations of sex characteristics (sometimes called intersex or disorders of sex development); if so, what are the policies, procedures and/or guidelines.
(2) How many children have been born with such variations over the last ten years.
(3) What were the diagnosis of these children.
(4) What medical procedures did these children undergo.
(5) What was the age at which these children underwent these procedures.
(6) How many times has surgery occurred on these children (a) in the ACT and (b) interstate, after the referral of a child to interstate practitioners.
(7) What information was given to parents to inform their choices.
(8) What measure have been taken by ACT Health to ensure that the treatment of children born with variations of sex characteristics ensures their bodily autonomy in line with recommendations from intersex advocacy groups.
Ms Fitzharris: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
1. ACT Health does not have a specific policy to guide the medical approach to the treatment of infants with intersex variations. In these situations, ACT Health clinicians are guided by clinical need and judgement within their clinical fields of expertise. For example, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ position statement for sexual and reproductive health care for young people outlines that medical interventions for cosmetic or psychosocial reasons should not take place until the person concerned can provide free and fully informed consent.
2. To protect patient privacy and confidentiality, ACT Health is unable to provide the specific number of cases when the numbers are sufficiently small.
3. To protect patient privacy and confidentiality, ACT Health is unable to provide the diagnosis definition of these cases as this is identifiable information. However, a highly common condition of babies born with intersex variation is Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which if untreated, causes life-threatening adrenal failure.
4. To protect patient privacy and confidentiality, ACT Health is unable to provide information about individuals. Regarding CAH, treatment involves replacement hormone medication, and for girls, reconstructive surgery is an option.
5. Variable depending on condition.