England’s National Health Service Rejects Puberty Blockers

England’s National Health Service (NHS) announced it will no longer prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to children at gender identity clinics citing there “is not enough evidence of safety and clinical effectiveness.” The move comes just a few years after doctors issued draft guidance to recognize that childhood gender dysphoria could simply be a “transient phase,” and young, pre-pubescent children should be treated based on “evidence that, in most cases, gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence.” The guidance also expressed concern about the use of puberty blockers. Doctors later issued an interim policy rejecting routine prescription of the drugs after an independent review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) investigating gender identity services for children under the age of 18. Puberty blockers are a classification of drugs that suppresses sex hormones in adolescents by continually interfering with the person’s pituitary gland. The NHS’s website said, “Puberty blockers are not available to children and young people for gender incongruence or gender dysphoria because there is not enough evidence of safety and clinical effectiveness.”

NHS England says it welcomes the “landmark decision,” which will ensure that care is in the “best interests of the child.” “NHS England has carefully considered the review conducted by NICE and further published evidence,” said a spokesperson. “We have concluded there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of puberty suppressing hormones to make the treatment routinely available at this time.” Puberty blockers have been linked to poor mental health among children struggling with gender confusion. A 2023 study from the University of Essex found that one-third of the youth with gender dysphoria (GD) experienced a decline in mental health after taking puberty blockers. The group of 12-15 years who all took puberty blockers were deemed “psychologically stable” but were classified as having a “high likelihood of extreme psychological distress with ongoing pubertal development,” the study described. Findings showed that 34% of trans youth experienced a decline in mental health while taking puberty blockers. Norway, Finland, and Sweden have already halted the use of gender-altering drugs and procedures for minors.

Most recently, The Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board has announced it will be revising its guidelines on the use of puberty blockers and gender-reassignment surgeries because there is a lack of medical research to support the use of those protocols. And one of Australia’s largest medical insurers is now refusing to cover private practitioners who are prescribing gender-transitioning procedures. “An existing body of research shows that most kids with gender dysphoria grow to be comfortable in their bodies upon undergoing puberty and that those wishing to transition suddenly post-puberty may be experiencing a social contagion,” Dr. Debra Soh, a sex neuroscientist, wrote in the Washington Examiner. Meanwhile, Sex Matters, a U.K human-rights organization, praised NHS England on its decision. Maya Forstater, its executive director said, “The significance of NHS England’s statement that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of puberty blockers cannot be overstated, given the success that activist lobby groups have had in portraying them as a harmless and reversible treatment.”

Source: CBNNews

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