Sweden Says Transgender Hormones Should Only Be ‘Experimental’

Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
Font Size:

Swedish researchers in conjunction with the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services released guidance on transgender hormones for children Monday.

“The aim of this systematic review was to assess the effects on psychosocial and mental health, cognition, body composition, and metabolic markers of hormone treatment in children with gender dysphoria,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Researchers searched PubMed, Embase and 13 other databases for English-language studies of hormone therapy in children with gender dysphoria until Nov. 9, 2021. The study looked at 9,934 potential studies, with 24 identified to be relevant to their research. (RELATED: Underwear With ‘Leave My Genitals Alone’ Written On Them Reportedly Thrown At Florida Republicans)

The Swedish researchers found that no randomized control samples were identified, that the few observational studies they identified only had small sample numbers and that a high rate of patients had left the studies. The researchers ultimately concluded that “long-term effects of hormone therapy on psychosocial health could not be evaluated.”

“In our review, we focused on psychosocial effects, bone health, body composition and metabolism, and therapy persistence in children (<18 years of age) with gender dysphoria undergoing treatment with so called puberty blockers, gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRHa),” professor, pediatrician and lead study author Jonas F. Ludvigsson said. “I am surprised by the shortage of studies in this field. We found no randomized trials, and only 24 relevant observational studies.”

Professor Mikael Landén, also an author in the study, likewise noted the deficit of studies on the long-term effects of hormone therapy on gender dysphoric youth.

“Against the background of almost non-existent longterm data, we conclude that GnRHa treatment in children with gender dysphoria should be considered experimental treatment rather than standard procedure,” Landen said. “This is to say that treatment should only be administered in the context of a clinical trial under informed consent.”

The study also found certain hormone treatments delay bone maturation and bone mineral density gain in youths.

“Evidence to assess the effects of hormone treatment on the above fields in children with gender dysphoria are insufficient,” according to the study’s conclusion.

Based on the study, researchers in conjunction with the Swedish governmental agency concluded such treatments for individuals under 18 should be considered “experimental” as opposed to “standard procedure.”

Finland, Sweden and the U.K. have moved to restrict childhood gender transitions amid growing concern about the procedures’ safety and effectiveness. In March, the Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board (NHIB) determined the country’s existing model of cross-sex treatments for minors is not evidence-based.

Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said in November 2022 that sex change operations are supported at the “highest levels” of the Biden administration.

President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a rule in 2022 to revise a non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act to require insurers and healthcare providers to cover and perform hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex changes. Biden signed an executive order in June 2022 that sought to counter bills in certain states that banned sex change operations for children.