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J Med Ethics. 2008 Aug;34(8):580-4. doi: 10.1136/jme.2007.021097.

Lives in a chiaroscuro. Should we suspend the puberty of children with gender identity disorder?

Author information

CSEP/IMLAB, and the Manchester Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester, Williamson Building, The School of Law, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.

Erratum in

  • J Med Ethics. 2008 Oct;34(10):760.


Transgender children who are not treated for their condition are at high risk of violence and suicide. As a matter of survival, many are willing to take whatever help is available, even if this is offered by illegal sources, and this often traps them into the juvenile criminal system and exposes them to various threats. Endocrinology offers a revolutionary instrument to help children/adolescents with gender identity disorder: suspension of puberty. Suspension of puberty raises many ethical issues, and experts dissent as to when treatment should be commenced and how children should be followed up. This paper argues that suspension of puberty is not only not unethical: if it is likely to improve the child's quality of life and even save his or her life, then it is indeed unethical to defer treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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