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Use of puberty blockers in children is based on “weak evidence”, concludes head of World’s largest review

Cass Report in the UK reveals use of puberty blockers in children based on weak evidence.
  • Dr. Hilary Cass, commissioned in 2020 to lead an independent review into the state of NHS services for children with gender confusion, delivers a damning report on the medical path thousands of vulnerable children have been sent down

  • Report stresses the wider social and mental health problems driving the rise in demand for “gender therapy”
  • Report further questions the lack of due “caution” from medical professionals in using puberty blockers and other interventions
Cass Report in the UK reveals use of puberty blockers in children based on weak evidence.

LONDON (10th April 2024) – The Independent review of gender identity services for children and young people (“Cass Report”), released Wednesday 10th April 2024, shines a light on the spike in young people seeking “gender treatment” in the UK and raises significant concerns about the conveyer-belt system sending vulnerable children down a pathway to irreversible bodily damage. After concluding her holistic review of the evidence upon which the current model is built, Dr. Cass has reflected in the British Journal of Medicine that current practices are “built on shaky foundations”. 

The review establishes that there is weak evidence regarding the impact of puberty blockers on gender dysphoria, mental or psychosocial health. Indeed, the report reveals that rather than merely allowing children “time to think” by delaying the onset of puberty, the vast majority of those treated with puberty blockers continued on a journey to cross-sex hormones. Brain maturation may also be “temporarily or permanently disrupted”, according to the findings. The impact of puberty blockers on mental health has not been fully explored, and some female patients experienced worsening depression or anxiety. 

In line with the findings of leaked documents from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) last month, Dr. Cass underscores the experimental nature of these interventions without the scrutiny that would normally be applied in other medical contexts: “The adoption of a treatment with uncertain benefits without further scrutiny is a significant departure from established practice. This, in combination with the long delay in publication of the results of the study, has had significant consequences in terms of patient expectations of intended benefits and demand for treatment.” 

"The striking increase in young people presenting with gender incongruence/dysphoria needs to be considered within the context of poor mental health and emotional distress among the broader adolescent population."

Mental Health Concerns

Throughout the 400-page report, Dr. Cass explains that gender-confused youths must be treated within the context of the widespread mental health issues impacting Generation Z and Generation Alpha: “The striking increase in young people presenting with gender incongruence/dysphoria needs to be considered within the context of poor mental health and emotional distress among the broader adolescent population, particularly given their high rates of co-existing mental health problems and neurodiversity.”   

In 2009, the NHS’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) treated 15 adolescent girls. By 2016, that figure increased to 1,071. 

An audit of discharge notes of GIDS patients between 1 April 2018 and 31 December 2022 showed the youngest patient was 3, the oldest 18, and 73% were birth-registered females.

The following statement may be attributed to Robert Clarke, Director of Advoacy for ADF International:

"No child is ever born in the wrong body. Children depend on adults, especially those in a position of authority, to guide and empower them to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin – not to push them down a dangerous and irreversible path of transition.

"The NHS is a trusted and authoritative health service, but the findings of the Cass report suggest that some were too blinded by ideology to apply the expected standards of caution and rigour to determining the best treatment for vulnerable and confused children. Puberty blockers were prescribed to children for years on end, with some continuing the “treatment” into their twenties. Yet the report makes clear that this approach did not simply give children “more time” to make a decision – the approach had significant impacts on young people’s psychological functioning and long-term outcomes.

Robert Clarke of ADF International.

« The vast majority sent down this path continued to irreversible bodily harm in the name of “transitioning” for which Dr. Cass now recommends mandatory ‘fertility counselling.

“Yet in countries like Scotland, governments are still, despite the best evidence, considering measures to punish parents for protecting their children from going down this harmful road. Considered alongside the revelations of the WPATH files earlier this month, governments everywhere must take heed of the overwhelming evidence and act to protect children and young people from dangerous gender experimentation.  

“Children cannot consent to life-altering procedures in the full knowledge of the consequences involved. Dr. Cass helpfully highlights the depth of the mental health crisis impacting younger generations – and the possible impact that social media addiction and pornography could have on feelings of gender dysphoria. We are letting this generation down by failing to help and support them in a holistic way to accept their bodies and feel comfortable and confident as themselves. 

“Children who experience discomfort with their biological sex deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and need compassionate, effective mental health care. Sadly, at the hands of ideologically-driven health authorities, they have been pushed in only one direction. There is a mounting and tragic cost to this, revealed by the many stories of those ‘de-transitioning’ or who otherwise regret what was done to them. Ultimately, vulnerable children and adults who deserved better were led to irreversible interventions; those who spoke out were censored. It’s time for more governments to act.” 

Images for free use in print or online in relation to this story only

Pictured: Robert Clarke, Director of Advocacy for ADF International

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