A Swedish hospital has become the first major hospital globally to put a stop to controversial protocols for administering hormones and drugs to transgender children, warning such treatments could have “irreversible adverse consequences.”
Gender services at the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital (ALB), part of the larger Karolinska Hospital, will no longer prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to transgender patients under the age of 18.
The Federalist notes that these treatments will also only be given to 16 and 17-year-olds “in scientific research areas designated by the ethics review board in Sweden.”
“The hormonal treatment of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria may consist of puberty-blocking treatment initiated at the onset of puberty, and cross-sex hormones initiated at the age of 16,” the hospital reportedly said in a statement of the policy change.
“These treatments are controversial and have recently become subject to increased attention and scrutiny both nationally and internationally.”
The potential for “irreversible adverse consequences” among the youth being treated “makes it challenging to assess the risk / benefit for the individual patient, and even more challenging for the minors and their guardians to be in a position of an informed stance regarding these treatments,” the hospital said.
As Sweden becomes the first nation with a prominent medical facility to abandon the so-called Dutch protocol for gender dysphoric patients it also marks the first time a nation has abandoned the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s guidelines.
The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine notes that the tides have been turning in Europe against the relatively new method of treatment for transgender youth.
“Finland revised its treatment guidelines in June 2020, prioritizing psychological interventions and support over medical interventions,” they note, as the UK’s National Health Service has suspended the initiation of hormonal interventions to those under the age of 16 after a High Court ruling which is currently under appeal.
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