England Bans Puberty Blockers For Minors

Earlier this week, England’s NHS reviewed existing research on puberty blockers to determine whether they were safe for children, and decided to ban the drugs in clinics across the country.

In response to the public outcry about giving these potentially dangerous drugs to children and drastic increase in children reporting gender dysphoria, especially teen girls, the NHS decided to review the existing literature on puberty blockers.

Just over 500 children were referred to England’s Gender Identity Development Service between 2011 and 2013. From 2020 to 2022, that number was nearly 6,000.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Analogues (GnRHa), commonly known as puberty blockers, have garnered much debate in recent years due to concerns about the safety and efficacy of the drugs. These drugs prevent the production of the body’s normal hormones and are used to treat some medical conditions in adults.

In the past few decades, many clinicians have been experimenting with using the drugs on minors who report gender dysphoria, in an attempt to prevent the onset of puberty.

Puberty Blockers have been shown to have a multitude of potential negative effects when used in children, from increasing the risk of diabetes and obesity to infertility. Puberty is a natural part of human development, and blocking the production of hormones that the body uses to signal various changes can lead to lasting effects.

While many proponents of puberty blockers claim that the effects are entirely reversible, the research shows otherwise.

It’s hard to ignore the dangers of these drugs, especially when many studies show little to no benefit to transgender youth. One of the most cited studies about the efficacy of these drugs in the UK showed neutral outcomes for patients, and that study was later found to have a laughably small sample size and no control group.

“NHS England has carefully considered the evidence review conducted by NICE (2020) and has identified and reviewed any further published evidence available to date,” said an NHS England policy document released on Tuesday. “We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of PSH to make the treatment routinely available at this time.”

While the ban is a leap in a positive direction for children facing mental health crises, the drugs are still allowed for children participating in clinical trials and are not banned in private medical practices.

Some, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss, are advocating for the drugs to be banned in privately-owned medical facilities as well.

The approximately one hundred children currently prescribed the drugs in England will continue to receive them.