Britain’s NHS Bans Puberty Blockers

Britain’s National Health Service (nhs) announced on Tuesday that it will no longer prescribe puberty blockers to children, citing serious safety concerns. The drug will continue to be administered to children in clinical research trials or by some private practices.

We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of [puberty blockers] to make the treatment routinely available at this time.
—National Health Service

Altering effects: Puberty blockers are designed to prevent the production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, which cause the physical changes that occur during puberty.

In addition to blocking physical changes like breast development and facial hair, the drugs have also been found to have permanently damaging effects on the brain. In July 2022, Dr. Hilary Cass, the former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, found that puberty blockers can rewire neural circuits in a way that cannot be reversed.

The nhs’s new policy means less than 100 children in clinical trials in the United Kingdom will have access to these life-altering, brain-damaging drugs. However, the clinical trials and private practices that don’t comply with the nhs ban could increase this number.

Growing numbers: The number of youths who identify as transgender in England has surged. The number increased from 250 children in 2012 to over 5,000 children in 2022.

In a June 2022 policy guidelines report, the nhs acknowledged the trend among youth:

A significant proportion of children and young people who are concerned about, or distressed by, issues of gender incongruence experience coexisting mental health, neurodevelopmental and/or personal, family or social complexities in their lives. The relationship between these presentations and gender incongruence may not be readily apparent and will often require careful exploration.

Family issues: Long-time readers of the Trumpet know we have been reporting on the connection between youth who are confused about their gender and the “personal, family or social complexities in their lives.” There is a direct correlation between young people’s family life and what they think about their gender.

To learn more, read our August 2023 “Pride” special issue of the Trumpet magazine.