Dutch expert warns on ‘blind adoption’ of puberty blockers

The Australian 17 March 2021
A leading expert from the Dutch clinic which pioneered puberty blocker drugs for children distressed by unwanted sexual development has sounded the alarm about gender clinics around the world “blindly adopting” this approach without research.

Dutch clinical psychologist Thomas Steensma said the influential Amsterdam gender clinic did not know if its original “Dutch protocol” of puberty blockers followed by cross-sex hormones and surgery should be used with today’s different and poorly understood patient group.

“Little research has been done on treatment with puberty inhibitors and hormones in young people,” Dr Steensma told Dutch media. “That is why it is also seen as experimental.”

The Dutch protocol has inspired rapidly expanding youth gender clinics across the developed world, including in Australia, with the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne campaigning in 2019 for extra money to become the first public children’s hospital in this country offering on-site transgender mastectomy as well as the hormonal treatments.

The 2018 RCH trans treatment guideline for minors — which relies on research by Dr Steensma and his Amsterdam colleagues — is used for medical interventions across Australia.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry into media diversity, RCH gender clinic director Michelle Telfer has defended her clinic’s treatment guideline following concerns reported in The Australian, saying it was “accepted as the current gold standard care”.
READ MORE: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/dutch-expert-warns-on-blind-adoption-of-puberty-blockers/news-story/d235ce6ebe409e8efde979f1ae0739cc

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