A Belgian transsexual has chosen to die by euthanasia after a botched sex change operation to complete his transformation into a man left him a 'monster'.
Nathan Verhelst, 44, died yesterday afternoon after being allowed have his life ended on the grounds of 'unbearable psychological suffering'.
It is understood to be the first time someone in Belgium has chosen euthanasia after a sex-change, and comes soon after it emerged that it is now the cause of nearly one in 50 deaths in the country.
Born a girl named Nancy, his transformation into a man began with hormone therapy in 2009, followed by a mastectomy and finally an operation to construct a penis last year. But the procedures did not go according to plan.Read more:
BELGIUM'S CONTROVERSIAL EUTHANASIA LAWS
In 2002 Belgium became the second country in the world, after The Netherlands, to legalise euthanasia.
Since then, an increasing number of people have chosen to die using this method.
In 2012, 1,432 people were allowed to go through assisted suicide indicating a 25 per cent increase in the number of assisted deaths.
Guidelines set out by the country's parliament mean patients wishing to end their own lives must be conscious when they ask to die.
They also have to be under a 'constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain' resulting from an 'accident or incurable illness'.
A survey earlier this year found 32 per cent of assisted deaths are done without request and 47% of the assisted deaths go unreported.
In one case, a 44-year-old woman with chronic anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder, was euthanised, along with a 64-year-old woman who was suffering from chronic depression.
The Belgian parliament is reportedly on the verge of passing legislation that would allow people under 18 to consent to euthanasia.
WHEN THE OPERATION GOES WRONG
Suicide rates among transsexuals and those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are high with some suggesting the rate may be as high as 31 per cent.
Chris Hyde, professor at the University of Exeter, who has studied the issues surrounding sex change operations, told MailOnline: ‘Research we conducted a decade ago found there is huge uncertainty over whether changing someone's sex is a good or a bad thing.
‘While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there's still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised - often to the point of committing suicide.
‘While we haven’t looked at the situation since then, given the difficulties in researching this area, it is likely that the same issues remain today.’