The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust clinic in London offers a gender identity development service. Five doctors have just resigned “due to concerns over the treatment of children presenting as transgender”. Launched in 2010, this experimental programme provides for blocking the puberty of children aged 10-16 to “make it easier to subsequently assign the opposite gender by hormonal or surgical methods”. But according to the doctors, “children with sexual difficulties are misdiagnosed as transgender,” and these experiments do not have “positive results,” especially since “their reversibility is the subject of debate, both physically and psychologically”. The paediatrician Russel Viner has also denounced these experiments: “If you suppress your puberty for three years, your bones don’t strengthen when they should, and we have absolutely no idea what it could do to brain development”.
By 2013, 800 adolescents had already been prescribed puberty blockers by this clinic, 230 of whom were aged under 14. In 2018, “they reached 300 prescriptions a year, while the programme’s webpage states that “the research evidence for the effectiveness of any particular treatment offered is still limited“.
This practice “is increasingly widespread in countries such as Belgium, France, the USA and Italy, where the medicines agency decreed on 25 February 2019 that the drug will be fully reimbursed by the country’s health service”.
Institut Européen de Bioéthique (12/04/2019)