Senior doctors will probe drug therapies for children who want to change gender which ‘pause’ puberty
- The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is investigating blockers
- The drugs prevent the release of testosterone or oestrogen and halt puberty
- The therapy has been promoted by transgender lobby groups
Senior doctors are to investigate the controversial drug therapies given to children who want to change gender.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has asked its ethics and law advisory committee to look into the increasing use of hormone blockers.
These are drugs which prevent the release of the male hormone testosterone or the female hormone oestrogen, thereby halting the changes of puberty.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has asked its ethics and law advisory committee to look into the increasing use of hormone blockers
They have been promoted by transgender lobby groups as a means of offering ‘breathing space’ or a ‘pause button’ to youngsters who are considering changing their gender.
Groups such as Mermaids and Gires, which support transgender people and their families, have claimed that delaying a young transgender person’s access to hormone blockers may increase their risk of suicide.
But doctors are concerned about the long-term safety of the drugs and they have not been licensed in the UK to treat children who want to change gender.
Mike Linney, registrar and chairman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Ethics and Law Advisory Committee, said the use of hormone blockers in this area of child health was a complex and important subject.
He added: ‘The committee has been asked to review the topic of gender dysphoria from an ethics standpoint, looking at knowledge, management and the ethical thinking behind current approaches. This includes discussing the issue of puberty blocking.’
Groups such as Mermaids and Gires, which support transgender people and their families, have claimed that delaying a young transgender person’s access to hormone blockers may increase their risk of suicide
In recent months whistleblowers have raised concerns over the NHS’s only specialised transgender clinic, the Gender Identity Development (Gid) Service, which is run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in north London.
A spokesman for the trust said: ‘The Gid service is a thoughtful and safe service, caring for vulnerable young people and their families and our commitment is to them at all times.
‘The Care Quality Commission, our care standards regulator, and our national commissioners monitor our service very closely. Our service specifications are set nationally by an expert group.
‘All young people considering the puberty blocker or cross-sex hormones are repeatedly made aware of the known potential impacts of these medical interventions, as described above, as well as the areas of impact that remain to some extent unknown. This allows young people and parents to take time to weigh up and think about their options.’