Thirteen children who had undergone hormone-blocking treatments for gender transition suffered serious health problems, a Swedish television program called Uppdrag granskning has reported.

In this sense, from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, they have declared that they will not start transgender children’s hormonal treatments again, since, as they affirm, no one can be treated if it is unknown if the treatment is safe and effective.

The aforementioned report shows the story of Leo, a girl who began to identify as a boy at the age of 10 and had more and more mental problems due to the gender dysphoria she suffered. At that time, her parents turned to Astrid Lindgren Hospital for help. There they began to administer puberty blockers when she was 11.

According to Dr. Ricard Nergardh, a pediatric endocrinologist who treats transgender children, the hormones applied to these transgender children can seriously affect them, since they produce chemical castration and can negatively affect their mental health, so it is highly recommended to inform your families about possible adverse effects.

Between 2015 and 2020, about 440 children with gender dysphoria received puberty blockers in Sweden. To minimize the risks, doctors treated them without exceeding the recommended time, two years, since prolonging the treatment can increase the risk of suffering side effects.

In the United Kingdom, Keira Bell, who started hormone blocking treatment at age 16, has won a Supreme Court victory by achieving a ruling advising doctors not to prescribe hormone blockers to adolescents without authorization.

Immediately afterwards, The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), also known as the Tavistock Center, suspended adolescent hormone therapy.

Bioethical assessment

As we have previously published, both hormonal blocking and subsequent gender transition treatments, based on the “hormonal masculinization” of women and the “hormonal feminization” of men, are not officially authorized for this purpose by the regulatory bodies.

This implies that there is insufficient evidence on their safety and efficacy for transgender children’s health, despite some groups that favor their generalization, promote them from an early age and maintain them for long periods of time -more than two years- increasing the severity of its sequelae.

Many of them are irreversible, such as infertility, metabolic or bone problems, or, most worryingly, central nervous system dysfunctions in brains that have not yet completed their maturation. In them, the “hormonal storm” that these treatments induce may be behind many of the psychic dysfunctions observed in many adolescents that are now motivating a radical change of position in the application and validation of these therapies.

The lack of safety in a treatment, together with its insufficiently proven efficacy, constitute serious obstacles not only clinical, but also bioethical, for its application, as they are maleficent in addition to affecting children and teenagers with limited autonomous decision-making capacity, many sometimes misinformed and, almost always, unable to correctly assess the consequences of these decisions.

The need to promote a reflection based on evidence should be mentioned to the medical group that promotes these interventions, whose errors can seriously and irreversibly harm transgender children’s health. In this case gender ideologies, are not good allies for correct medical practice, which must be oriented in any case towards the well-being of the patient and society.

The evidence of negative results in gender transition processes continues to grow, which is why it should urge both the healthcare community and regulatory bodies to reorient the approach to gender dysphoria processes, which, far from pretending to be normalized, they require specialized clinical care, multidisciplinary and prolonged in time that can allow those who suffer it to overcome it definitively.


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