Planning Your Finances Towards Surgery

In 1973, Singapore legalised sex-reassignment surgery. Post-operative transsexual people can change the legal gender on their identity cards (but not their birth certificates). This is probably when most of us start looking for ways to update our gender on that pink card. 

Dealing with medical finance is an issue that we cannot afford to stuff into the closet and ignore. Medical inflation is real, it becomes harder and harder to pay for things. APAC medical inflation is close to 8%.

Major surgery is one of the most expensive things that you can have to pay for other than getting a property in Singapore. Therefore, approaching it with a sound financial strategy is important if you want to make it through with minimal problems. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when dealing with major medical surgery.


Let’s set the context here. The following is based on a Singapore resident with local insurance coverage only.
Singapore individual insurance does not cover sexual reassignment surgery. Period.
The only time where surgical removal of reproductive organs is covered by insurance, it is due to medical disease.

Saving and Growing

From the time you decide to opt for surgery, you need to start saving.
Life happens, we get it.
But how long before you get comfortable with your body?
Part-time work, freelance gigs, corporate stock options, endowment plans, investment etc. All these are ways to increase your income. 

Expenses (Tighten Up Your Budget)

Increasing your income stream is great. What about making better informed choices in your spending patterns?
You would probably want that $300 shoe and not need it. Evaluate your expenses to hit the targeted goal.
Remember, the longer it takes to save up, the higher the amount you will eventually need.

Financing (Avoid)

Once you determine how much the procedure will cost, along with unforeseen additional costs, it might be more than what you have budgeted for.
One of the ways to finance the rest of the procedure would be to take a personal bank loan or use a credit card. Honestly, these are not my favourite alternatives.
Do note that in Singapore, your unsecured credit facilities limit cannot exceed 12 times of your monthly income. Some overseas facilities change 1.5%-3% admin fee if you pay by credit/debit card. You will be exposed to currency exchange risk as well.

Many medical institution recognize the WPATH Standards of Care for the treatment of transsexualism. Do note that these may require a minimum duration of psychological evaluation and living as a member of the target gender full-time, sometimes called the real life experience (RLE) (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the real life test (RLT)) before genital reconstruction or other sex reassignment surgeries are permitted. 

It is crucial to understand your current life stage and financial health. Once you have a clear understanding, you are better positioned to make the right decision to achieve that financial goal.

It is not an easy path; nothing beats taking the 1st step.



The views expressed belong solely to the individual contributors in their individual capacities and do not necessarily reflect those of their respective employers, organisation or other group. Any information provided does not constitute legal, financial or any kind of advice. Do obtain specific advice suitable for your circumstances from an appropriate professional before taking any action. Although we try our best to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, you rely on it at your own risk. We welcome feedback relating to factual accuracy via email at .

The Author

Find out more about JyunKai here. Leave a comment in the comment section if you would like to get in touch with him.


Leave acomment


Join Our Mailing List


Receive updates news and events organised by PRIDENT for the LGBTQ+ community.