Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Government Should Pause Puberty Blockers

Family First NZ is calling for an urgent pause on the use of puberty blockers, and for a full inquiry into the long term effects and potential harms of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on vulnerable young people.

There have been significant developments around the world which now puts New Zealand out of step with other countries who are now taking a cautious approach.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will review all transgender medical treatment in the wake of the CASS review which found such treatment is built on “weak evidence.” The landmark final report released last week by pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass is the result of a major independent review on children and gender identity commissioned by the NHS in 2020. Cass is a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Dr Cass said “The reality is that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress… The evidence we do have for gender medicine is built on “shaky foundations,”

She also concluded: Puberty blockers should no longer be prescribed to children except in the context of research due to these powerful drugs’ effects on brain development and bone health… Cross-sex hormones — estrogen and testosterone — should be prescribed to trans-identifying 16 and 17-year-olds only with an “extremely cautious” approach, and there should be a “clear clinical rationale” for not waiting until the teen is 18.”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The CASS review also concluded that “Young people facing gender-related distress had no significantly different levels of suicide risk to other young people with similar levels of complex presentations” and that there was “No evidence that gender-affirming treatment reduces suicide risk.”

This review backs up recent international developments, of which there are many:

  • Scotland 2024: Scotland's NHS has just paused prescribing puberty blockers to children referred by its specialist gender clinic.
  • Finland study 2024: Finnish study published in the BMJ Mental Health found that the suicide risk in a large group of adolescents was predicted by the psychiatric problems that often accompany gender distress, not by the gender distress itself.
  • Netherlands study 2024: A landmark study from the Netherlands found that the majority of gender-confused children grow out of that feeling by the time they are fully grown adults.
  • France 2024: French senators have published a report that expresses alarm at the excesses of child gender transition and have proposed a bill to put an end to it.
  • England 2024: The NHS will no longer routinely prescribe puberty blockers at gender identity clinics in England and Wales.
  • The Netherlands 2024: The Dutch government has passed a motion to conduct research into the physical and mental health outcomes of children given puberty blockers.
  • Italy 2023: The Italian Psychoanalytic Society (Società Italiana di Psicanalisi, SPI) issued a call to the Ministry of Health expressing "great concern" about the use of drugs that block pubertal development of minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
  • Denmark 2023: In a marked shift in the country's approach to caring for youth with gender dysphoria, most youth who are referred to the centralised gender clinic now receive therapeutic counselling and support, rather than a prescription for puberty blockers.
  • Norway 2023: After a review, the Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board stated it has serious concerns about the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and that the current ‘gender affirming’ guidelines are not evidence-based and must be revised.
  • UK 2022: The UK’s Tavistock transgender clinic is shut down by the NHS after a review found it is "not safe" for children, and that there is insufficient evidence to recommend puberty blockers.
  • USA 2022: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US issues a warning label about the risk of puberty blockers
  • Sweden 2021: The Karolinska Hospital ceased the use of puberty blockers for those aged under 18 .
  • Finland 2020: revised its treatment guidelines, prioritising psychological interventions and support over medical interventions.
  • USA 2023-24: A total of 22 states have so far passed laws protecting children from routine medicalisation of gender distress. The laws vary in what they proscribe and in the penalties imposed and some of them are subject to ongoing legal challenges.

The other significant event was the recent release of internal files from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) which suggest that the practice of transgender medicine is neither scientific nor medical. The “WPATH FILES” provide clear evidence that doctors and therapists are aware they are offering minors life-changing treatments they cannot fully understand. WPATH members know that puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries will cause infertility and other complications, including cancer and pelvic floor dysfunction. Yet they consider life-altering medical interventions for young patients, including vaginoplasty for a 14-year-old and hormones for a developmentally delayed 13-year-old.

Health NZ Te Whatu Ora says on their website – “For referral acceptance to be considered patients need to: meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People, published by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) version seven.”

Up until 2020 the Ministry of Health stated that “Puberty Blockers are a safe and fully reversible medicine that may be used from early puberty through to later adolescence to help ease distress and allow time to fully explore gender health options.” But that advice was quietly changed by the Ministry. “Safe and fully reversible medicine” has been removed and replaced withBlockers are sometimes used from early puberty through to later adolescence to allow time to fully explore gender health options.”

Family First is calling on the government and the Ministry of Health to pause the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and operations for minors while further research is undertaken.

It's time we put first-do-no-harm medicine and credible research ahead of ideology and an agenda to push gender fluidity indoctrination. It’s time we had watchful waiting, therapy, and healing of the mind rather than chemicals, castration and confusion.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.