Gender transition is a lifelong process. Although gender identity and gender expression are often similar, they do not always match. A person may express gender in a way that is different from how they feel.
There are several steps in the gender surgical transition process. Treatment is individualized. When considering a surgical option, discuss your needs with your psychologist or primary care provider (PCP) such as a family physician or nurse practitioner. Based on your specific circumstances and your health, your physician or PCP may prescribe medication and/or refer you to specific specialists to match the surgical approach to your needs.
Your physician/PCP may refer you to a psychiatrist who is registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Your psychiatrist will guide you through the transition process and the steps required.
Gender surgery involves surgical procedures to change primary sex characteristics so they correspond with a person’s gender identity.
As of January 21, 2019, breast augmentation and mastectomy requires prior approval. A surgeon or primary care provider (PCP) must validate a patient’s eligibility using the Request for Breast Surgery form. Before the surgery can be performed, the applying surgeon must submit the prior approval form to Alberta Health. Note, to qualify for breast augmentation for cis and transwomen, the patient must have little to no breast growth as clinically determined by the surgeon and in most instances, augmentation is determined to be cosmetic in nature. Download the approved form Request for Breast Surgery.
For more information regarding insured services, see Health care services covered in Alberta, update to breast augmentation bulletin and billing codes bulletin.
Alberta’s Gender Surgery Program provides funding for Alberta residents to obtain gender surgeries such as phalloplasty, metoidioplasty or vaginoplasty. Funding is available to eligible Albertans diagnosed with gender dysphoria who meet the established program criteria. Download the Gender Surgery Program application forms.
The Gender Surgery Program is available to Albertans who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a psychiatrist and who meet program criteria, which are based on internationally recognized standards.
Surgical expertise for phalloplasty, metoidioplasty or vaginoplasty is provided at the Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie in Montreal.
A psychiatrist must apply for this funding on your behalf.
Any Alberta licensed and registered psychiatrist can complete and submit the funding application for genital surgery on their patient’s behalf.
Patients are not required to see a psychiatrist with a practice interest in transgender health. Any Alberta psychiatrist can make the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Some medical services are not covered by the province. Uninsured services include the following (but not limited to):
Personal expenses, such as meals and accommodation, are also the patient’s responsibility.