The Facts on Puberty Blockers

Claim: Puberty blockers are harmless and reversible

This is a common claim. Puberty blockers, we are told, are simply a way to ‘hit the pause button’, giving gender confused children time to develop a better understanding of their identity. Advocates claim they are harmless, completely reversible and have no long-term health risks.

But are they right?

The facts

  • There has been no long-term research into the physical effects of puberty blockers.

  • Puberty blockers are gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or analogues and are used to suppress puberty in adolescents whose hormone levels would otherwise be perfectly normal. GnRH are sex hormone suppressants, already in use to treat some cancers such as prostate or breast cancer. They go by a variety of brand names, one of the most common of which is Lupron.

  • A number of studies have associated the use of these drugs with reduction in bone density as well as decrease in white matter integrity in the brain. These effects are exacerbated when used on pre-pubescent children.

  • In July 2022 the US Federal Drug Administration issued a new warning on GnRH agonists which may cause pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension), resulting in loss of vision.

  • The Cass Review in the United Kingdom found there were gaps in the evidence on the use of puberty blockers and limited research on the sexual, cognitive and developmental outcomes on children.

  • In 2020 UK National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) in the UK reviewed the available evidence for puberty blockers and ranked the standard of evidence as ‘very low’ in every category.

Why this matters

  • Once prescribed, the use of puberty blockers almost always leads to cross-sex hormones which have long-term health impacts. Combining the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones results in a variety of later complications: permanent facial hair, deepening of voice and vaginal atrophy for girls and women, unusual and early stage osteoporosis for boys and men, and permanent sterility for both sexes.

  • A number of detransitioners have testified to these harmful effects, and even some well-known transgender personalities such as Buck Angel have attested to them in an attempt to alert to and prevent the harms caused.

  • Other studies have found that ‘socially transitioning’ a child (treating them as if they are the opposite sex) makes it more likely they will go on to use puberty blockers and then cross-sex hormones. Their fate has been decided for them while they are still young enough to believe in Santa Claus.

  • AF4WR believes that children and their parents are not being given a full and frank picture of the reality of puberty blockers and other care options. As a society we are performing a huge medical experiment on gender nonconforming children with little to no evidence to support our actions.

Some recent examples

Top family law barrister Belle Lane prepared a paper for the Federal and Family Court about the lack of evidence to support the current gender affirmation model.

Read more

The Cass Review into gender identity services (GIDS) for children and young people.

The Tavistock Clinic in England was forced to close as a result of the review. Up to 1000 families are now considering suing the clinic.

Many Australian health care workers have called for a similar review here

A study published in the BMJ found puberty blockers did not alleviate negative thoughts in children with gender dysphoria

Westmead Children’s Hospital paper

This Healthline article outlines some of the concerns about the lack of research on the effects of puberty blockers

There is growing evidence that they can alter the normal trajectory for psychosexual development.

A gender clinician admits the evidence base is weak