Netherlands to subsidize breast prostheses for transgender women

Edith Schippers (Photo: Commonst)Edith Schippers (Photo: Commonst)

Public Health Minister Edith Schippers is making 2.8 million euros available annually for breast implants for transgenders, she announced in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday, ANP reports.

Most transgender women see too little breast growth in their hormone treatment. According to Schippers, they can experience this as a "serious obstacle" in their transition. "I think it is important to reduce this obstacle, partly in view of transgenders' socio-economic position. A subsidy scheme for compensating breast prostheses from a transgender emancipation perspective can contribute to this", Schippers said.

From spring next year male-to-female transgenders will be able to make use of this subsidy.

Schippers also announced that the government wants to set standards on the waiting times at gender clinics. "It would be good if there are also rules for this type of care", Schippers said. Early this year interest groups warned that waiting times at gender clinics are unacceptably long - so long that some transgenders even start their own hormone treatments with a doctor's advice. 

In her letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, Schippers emphasized that it is difficult to reduce waiting lists as long as the number of applications grows faster than the capacity of the clinics. She hopes that more hospitals will negotiate with health insurers to provide this form of care. She also emphasized that the quality of care must remain high. "Even in the event of a tight supply, measures aimed at faster flow should not compromise the quality of care."