Jazz Jennings Heart Broken: She May Not Be Able To Get Gender Reassignment Surgery

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Oct. 8 2018, Updated 3:39 p.m. ET

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I Am Jazz star Jazz Jennings has had one major lifelong dream: to have gender reassignment surgery. The LGBTQ rights activist and transgender teen’s goal in going through with the procedure may have some extra hurdles, as she just discovered on the latest episode of her hit reality show. Click-through to find out why the surgery may not happen after all. 

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Her show, I Am Jazz, chronicles her life with her family while dealing with the typical teen drama through the lens of a transgender youth.  The 17-year-old has been mentally preparing to undergo this surgery, but her doctors informed her that there are some issues that can cause conflict prior to doing so.

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In a sneak peak of Tuesday night’s episode, Jazz and her family visit her doctor, who delivered the bad news.

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“I saw Jazz and her folks about six months ago and that was actually the first time I’ve gotten to examine Jazz, so I called the Jennings today because I’ve been speaking with colleagues and I wanted to get their take on a number of issues,” her surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers explained in this PEOPLE sneak peek

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Jazz Jennings

“I wanted to follow-up with you in person just because your surgery will be very difficult in terms of what even the most experienced surgeons have encountered,” she told Jazz. “Not to bring up the bad news first, but you gained in your BMI — which is called body mass index — which basically looks at your weight compared to your height. If we’re going to get a hospital to say, ‘we’re going to allow a surgery at age 17,’ you’re going to have to be at a lower BMI. Literally, they won’t approve it if your BMI is one dot over. When it translates to pounds, it’s about 30 pounds.”

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When she learned that she has to lose 30 pounds to qualify for the surgery, it caused some fear in Jazz that she may not be able to fulfill her lifelong dream.  "The fact that I might not be able to get the surgery if I don’t lose 30 pounds, I am absolutely horrified,” she shared. “I knew that my weight was a problem, but I didn’t realize that it could affect something that I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”  Dr. Bowers added that a candidate could be denied if their BMI is too high because “if there’s more weight, it makes the surgery longer and it makes it more difficult.”

“What we’re finding is that as one new technology emerges, like hormone blockade — nobody thought we could block puberty — it creates another problem elsewhere. Now we don’t have enough tissue to create the adult genitals of the opposite sex," added Dr. Bowers.  Jazz also opened up about her overeating issues in the super tease for her season 4 show, where she admitted "My eating habits are beyond my control.  I really feel like a beached whale.”

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Do you think Jazz can get her eating problems together and lose the weight to qualify for the surgery?  Sound off in the comments! 


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