In very specific situations some halachic decisors have permitted sex change operations, such as for infants born with some types of genital anomalies. However, the consensus seems to be that they are generally forbidden, at least for Jews. This is because they involve various halachic prohibitions, such as the prohibition on sterilization.

Are sex change operations prohibited to non-Jews as well? Why or why not?



2 Answers 2


The following lines are meant to make known some basics to understand Halacha. I will try to answer this question, with many difficulty in the Halachic domain. the matter concerns an incredible variety of cases in the medical ward. Here is a citation from Medscape

In a virilized female, the surgical procedure is termed feminizing genitoplasty and includes vaginoplasty and clitoroplasty. The optimal timing of feminizing genitoplasty has not been determined. Undervirilized males typically have hypospadias requiring surgical reconstruction. The modest amount of data available on the timing of reconstructive hypospadias surgery derive mainly from reconstructive studies and expert opinion; until more and better data become available, it may be reasonable to advocate early surgery, between the ages of 6 and 18 months.[16] Gender reassignment may be considered in patients with 46,XY DSD and genital inadequacy.

It seems that before surgery, hormone therapy or surgical, patients were already destined to be sterile and some will not have puberty. Suppose there is cases or interventions would generate infertility, said sex change as pursuing both terms "sexual identity and sexual orientation". The case was initially presented infertility are also relevent questions of Halacha.

the work of the surgeon, even once accomplished does not share all the characters of sexual organs, in particular there will be no sexual pleasure, strictly speaking, neither fertility as we already said. So from a practical standpoint it may be considerate as a castration. The question made reference to a difference between Jewish and non-Jewish patients patients.

Let's examine the problem at the Jewish side before and next at the Bene Noach side.

The prohibition of castrating a human: Gemara Shabbath110B and 111A

התניא מניין לסירוס באדם שהוא אסור ת''ל {ויקרא כב-כד} ובארצכם לא תעשו בכם לא תעשו דברי ר' חנינא ('On your land do not' <=> 'On yourselves do not'.)

We see later in this text two laws quite circumstantial in our subject:

  1. forbidden to castrate a male already sterile. That is to say that no right to do anything that will increase the amputation of his genitals. (But as non invasive intervention may be different)
  2. and the lack of prohibition to sterilize a female (But to castrate surgically that is assur Miderabanan) {the difference between male and female appears directly linked to the difference that these have on the command "Pru Urvu"}.

What about the ban on castration in "Bne Noach"?
it seems that we finds two opinions in the Gemara (BM 90AB).

  • According to one view, they can castrate animals and even humans,
  • and according to the second opinion, they do not have the right to castrate animals or humans.
    Turn our attention to this second opinion. First BM 90B:

אמר רב פפא בני מערבא סברי לה כר' חידקא דאמר בני נח מצווין על הסירוס (This is described as the opinion of the Chachamim in Erets Israel.) Sanhedrin 56B רבי חידקא אומר אף על הסירוס
תנא דבי מנשה הוא דמפיק ד''ך ועייל ס''ך דתנא דבי מנשה שבע מצות נצטוו בני נח ע''ז וגילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים גזל ואבר מן החי סירוס וכלאים (He subtracted from the count of seven Noahide laws the obligation to establish courts and prohibition to curse God; However it adds two banned Kilaym and castration.)

But this opinion is established each time as a Shita (indicating that this is not the Halacha).

As a conclusion

  1. A non-Jew operates a non-Jew itself: I don't find any prohibition.
  2. A non-Jew operates a Jew. It is more complex.

We are confronted Obviously a ban (De Rabane) if we ask him to do for us something we do not have the right to do. It may be possible to ask him to operate a girl. For a boy is more complicated and I do not know. make a non mutilating act, by injection of radiation and not a surgery is perhaps less problematic.


Sex change operations are forbidden to bnei noach on the grounds that this is a destruction of the body as well it nullifies and contradicts the purpose of creation (just as it is forbidden to noachides to mix different species of fruit trees or different species of animals). See Sheva Mitzvot Hashem (vol II), Part V, 9:4.

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