UK Children’s Gender Clinic Set to Close Following Review Casting Doubt on Use of Puberty Blockers

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The United Kingdom’s National Health Services are set to shutter the Tavistock gender clinic for children, a facility which has been the subject of much scrutiny over its treatments.

A formal, independent review of the clinic cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of using puberty-blocking drugs to treat gender dysphoria in children, an approach which has rapidly gained in popularity yet has raised so many concerns that some states have sought to ban this approach.

“The rationale for use of puberty blockers at Tanner Stage 2 of development was based on data that demonstrated that children, particularly birth-registered boys who had early gender incongruence, were unlikely to desist once they reached early puberty; this rationale does not necessarily apply to later-presenting young people, including the predominant referral group of birth-registered girls,” Dr. Hillary Cass, who led the review, wrote in her report.

“We do not fully understand the role of adolescent sex hormones in driving the development of both sexuality and gender identity through the early teen years, so by extension we cannot be sure about the impact of stopping these hormone surges on psychosexual and gender maturation. We therefore have no way of knowing whether, rather than buying time to make a decision, puberty blockers may disrupt that decision-making process.”

Cass also pointed to a lack of evidence supporting the use of puberty blockers in children and also noted a potential impact on brain development, writing that “brain maturation may be temporarily or permanently disrupted by puberty blockers, which could have significant impact on the ability to make complex risk-laden decisions, as well as possible longer-term neuropsychological consequences.”

The NHS told The Guardian that children on the waiting list for or already undergoing treatment at the clinic will be transferred to more localized care by spring of next year.

“The aim is to close the Tavistock clinic by spring 2023, moving to the new provider model through specialist children’s hospitals,” a source told the outlet.

“The children being seen by the Tavistock (and those on waiting lists) will be transferred to a new provider over the course of that time.”

According to the NHS, the clinic had over 3,500 referrals in 2021 and over 5,000 between 2021 and 2022. This compares to a scant 250 in 2011-2012.

H/T The Christian Post

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