Pediatric endocrinologists are warning that despite a lack of medical tests to determine its safety, U.S. doctors are increasingly injecting children who have gender dysphoria with a powerful hormonal suppressant normally used to treat prostate cancer.
"[Parents] need to continue to love their children. They need to continue to affirm their human dignity. Yet they shouldn't have to jettison biological reality to be able to put what they're being told into practice, in terms of disrupting normally timed puberty," Dr. Paul Hruz, an associate professor of pediatrics and endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, told The Christian Post.
Leuprorelin, sold under the brand name Lupron, has never been green-lighted by the Food and Drug Administration to treat gender dysphoria, nor have there been any peer-reviewed studies done on the drug's long-term physical and psychological side effects on children, The Christian Post reports.
The Christian Post interviewed several doctors in a recent report who said synthetic hormones could put children on a pathway to permanent sterilization, and many other long-term repercussions which may not be felt for years.
Hormone blockers, like leuprorelin, are approved for use in children to treat precocious puberty— when a child experiences puberty at an abnormally early age— and pediatricians may administer them to children to help them handle hormone drives and avoid peer pressure related to their sexual maturity.
Doctors may diagnose children with central precocious puberty when signs of sexual maturity begin to develop in girls under the age of 8 or boys under the age of 9, according to the drug’s website.
When used normally, the drug suppresses hormonal signals from the pituitary gland which regulate testosterone or estrogen levels. This can aid in the treatment of prostate cancer for men and endometriosis in women.
When used to suppress normally-timed puberty, however, the drug can affect bone density, which increases during a child’s normal pubertal development, Hruz told The Christian Post.
"The reality is that there is no long-term data about treating children, and the only data that we have in adults indicates that medical interventions to align the appearance of the body to a transgendered identity does not fix the problem," he said, adding that overwhelming evidence exists that most children will realign their gender identity with their biological sex if left alone.
Dr. Michael Laidlaw, a Rocklin, California-based board certified physician, told The Christian Post that a group called the World Professional Association for Transgender Health overhauled and “co-opted” the guidelines regarding gender transition therapy of the Endocrine Society, the largest global professional organization representing the field of endocrinology, to be overwhelmingly pro-transition.
Ladilaw also claimed that parents who change their minds about helping their children transition are often “strong-armed” or “bullied” into continuing the treatment by doctors, who warn that the child may commit suicide without the treatment.
"Gender dysphoria is not an endocrine condition, but is a psychological one, and should, therefore, be treated with proper psychological care,” Laidlaw told the The Christian Post.
“But it becomes an endocrine condition once you start using puberty blockers and giving cross-sex hormones to kids."
Ladilaw also mentioned that he knows of no psychological condition that is treated by misaligning a patient’s hormones from their normal levels. He said he predicts that a few years down the road, when patients begin to realize the side effects of the treatment, there will likely be medical malpractice lawsuits filed against those who encouraged their transition.
Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist in private practice in Atlanta, said that doctors who oppose gender transition therapy today face barriers to getting published and are routinely dismissed by the scientific community at large.
"There is a core of very diabolical people who are filtering large sums of money into this and using mass social pressure," Van Meter asserted.
California passed a law in September 2018 to provide resources for “gender-affirmative” treatment for foster children, despite strong opposition from doctors; a group of endocrinologists have co-authored a letter of protest to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism regarding the guidelines. Between 2009 and the present, the number of transgender medical clinics in the U.S. has ballooned to 55.
The doctors cited by The Christian Post all recommended appropriate counseling to uncover the root cause of the child’s distress, rather than seeking a gender change.