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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding research on the effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatment on youth despite acknowledgment from the grantee that these medical interventions can result in sterility.
A parent or guardian consent form from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), titled “Pubertal Blockers for Minors in Early Adolescence,” states, “If your child starts puberty blockers in the earliest stages of puberty, and then goes on to gender affirming hormones, they will not develop sperm or eggs. This means that they will not be able to have biological children.”
It goes on to read, “This is an important aspect of blocking puberty and progressing to hormones that you should understand prior to moving forward with puberty suppression.” It adds that fertility can be maintained if a child takes puberty blockers but does not undergo cross-sex hormone therapy. Two different studies, however, have found that roughly 98% of children who take puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormone therapy.
After the parent/guardian decides to proceed with pubertal blocker medication, the consent form requires the signature of both the parent/guardian and the child (patient).
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb is the director of an advocacy group called Do No Harm, which seeks to “protect healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.” He criticized the idea of a minor possibly signing away their ability to reproduce.
“Anyone who thinks a child reading this document will be able to give informed consent is engaging in a massive instance of self delusion,” Goldfarb told The Daily Wire. “Children simply cannot understand the impact of any of this on their bodies, and on their future.”
The CHLA form echoes a waiver from the University of Virginia Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital Transgender Youth Health that listed “irreversible infertility” as a potential side effect of cross-sex hormone therapy.
“It is unconscionable that a hospital would use children as guinea pigs at the behest of the federal government — offering families a paltry sum,” said Nicki Neily, founder and president of Parents Defending Education, a nonprofit on a mission to “reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas.”
“Polling has consistently found that a majority of Americans oppose these procedures. For the federal government to fund this research with tax dollars, despite such widespread opposition, is truly insult to injury,” she continued.
An NIH-funded study at CHLA titled “The Impact of Early Medical Treatment in Transgender Youth” focuses on the use of transgender drugs on youth. It is led by Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, the Medical Director for The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at CHLA, which describes itself as the “largest transgender youth clinic in the United States.” The project, which began in fiscal year 2015 but is still ongoing, boasts that it “successfully recruited” two cohorts, consisting of “95 youth initiating pubertal suppression with gonadotropin releasing hormone analogs” as well as “316 youth initiating gender-affirming hormone (GAH) therapy (testosterone or estrogen).” It aims to “examine physiological and psychosocial effects of medical intervention for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth with gender dysphoria.”
Another form from CHLA obtained by Parents Defending Education reveals that patients were offered financial incentives to participate in the study.
“In consideration of your time participating in this research, the study team would like to offer you payment,” it states before specifying that participants would receive $50 for each visit, totaling $400.
It also adds, “you or a family member or friend you designate will receive reimbursement for parking and/or transportation, or be provided transportation as needed.”
While CHLA is listed as the awardee organization, the study is carried out across four transgender youth clinics, including Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, and the Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
The study received $7,748,467 from 2015 to 2022 before securing another $963,441 in fiscal year 2023. The researchers note that the renewal would allow them to “evaluate the longer-term physiological and psychological impact of existing medical treatment protocols initiated in adolescence on youth with gender dysphoria for up to an additional 4 years.” They will attempt to “enhance the diversity and size of existing cohorts by enrolling additional youth of color (YOC) into both cohorts” as they continue the study.
While the researchers have stated that early results have shown “a positive trend regarding mental health response to gender affirming interventions,” a recent article about the ongoing study reported “death by suicide occurred in 2 participants,” while 11 others experienced suicidal ideation.
Republican members of Congress responded to the deaths with a letter to NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak, citing “grave concerns” about the study while also pointing out that “the researchers admitted that they were not able to properly establish causality between the administration of cross-sex hormones and improved psychosocial functioning because their study lacked a control group.”
Meanwhile, the NIH is also giving more than $3.2 million to an effort from the Boston Children’s Hospital to produce a “trans health guide” that aims to expand access to sex changes for minors.
Neither CHLA nor NIH responded to requests for comment.