Research On Puberty Blockers And Cross-Sex Hormones For Minors Is ‘Low Quality,’ Study Reveals

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A German study published Tuesday revealed that research claiming to support puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments for minors is “low quality” and likely “substantially different” from the “true effect.”

A group of German researchers conducted a systematic review of the “updated literature” on the use of transgender hormones for minors published since the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) last review in 2020. They determined that the current research between July 2020 and August 2023 on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones had “significant conceptual and methodological flaws” and that studies do not show clear signs of improving gender dysphoria or the mental health of minors who identify as transgender. (RELATED: Trans Activists May Have Found Backdoor To Force Hospitals To Provide Sex-Change Surgeries)

“The current body of evidence is very limited, based on very few studies with small samples and problematic methodology and quality,” the researchers wrote. “Adequate and meaningful long-term studies are equally lacking. Current evidence does not clearly suggest that [gender dysphoria] symptoms and mental health significantly improve when [puberty blockers] or [cross-sex hormones] are given to minors with [gender dysphoria].”

The researchers found only two studies that met their criteria but NICE further noted that they had “low sample sizes, added no new significant evidence on specific beneficial effects of [cross-sex hormones] in minors with [gender dysphoria] and were classified as “low certainty.'” Another 29 studies had to be excluded from the review because they lacked “adequate comparisons of treatment effects.”

Transgender activists have long claimed that hormone therapy is a “life-saving” treatment for children who identify as transgender and argued that denying them that care puts minors at a higher risk of suicide. The review, however, explained that the studies did not “focus on the treatment effects” on anxiety, depression and suicidality levels and therefore did not allow for a “pre-post comparison.”

The researchers also expressed concerns that long-term studies on the subject were “equally lacking” and that the claim that puberty blockers were completely reversible lacked ‘evidence and potential long-term effects are unclear.” They explained that there was little known about puberty blocker’s impact on “socio-emotional development, sexual experience ability … [and] a reduction in bone density are of concern” as well as “changes in insulin and lipid metabolism (for example hypercholesterolemia), changes in liver function, and cardiovascular” for minors who are prescribed cross-sex hormones.”

Another criticism was that the results from the cross-sex hormone studies did not show “pre-testosterone data” or have a “randomized group” to study the effects of alternate treatments.

The United States Transgender Survey released its preliminary findings this month, claiming that a majority of Americans who had undergone hormone treatments were more satisfied with their lives. Dr. Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and founder of Genspect, who previously spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation, however, said that the survey like many other studies on the subject is often just “shoddy research” and doesn’t “add up” with her work with detransitioners, who have serious mental and physical side effects after the fact.

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