Virginia’s Law on Sterilization and Child Gender Transition Procedures

By James C. Sherlock

A recent article on this site on medical and surgical procedures for gender transition in children drew more than 100 comments.  There is no Virginia law that controls this process for children.

But we have a law governing sterilization that appears to make sterilization of a child under 18, by extension, unlawful.

Here it is.

§ 54.1-2974. Sterilization operations for persons 18 years or older capable of informed consent.

It shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to perform a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure on any person 18 years of age or older who has the capacity to give informed consent, when so requested in writing by such person. Prior to or at the time of such request, a full, reasonable, and comprehensible medical explanation as to the meaning and consequences of such an operation and as to alternative methods of contraception shall be given by the physician to the person requesting the operation.


One of the outcomes of the partially irreversible forms of hormones used in gender transition is sterilization.

Certainly “bottom” surgery is sterilization.

I ask the lawyers and physicians among my readers to comment on whether the Virginia sterilization law governs medical and surgical gender transition processes visited on children.