Frequently Asked Questions

Why is confidentiality so important?

  • Youth are more likely to seek necessary medical attention if they know the conversation with their doctor is confidential.3/4
  • Lambda Legal and The National Library of Medicine agree that it’s likely for transgender people to seek non-prescribed treatments and self-performed surgeries without proper health care options.6/18
  • It’s safer for youth to talk to a doctor and receive treatment from a medical professional than it is to get information or drugs over the internet or from strangers.

Are puberty blockers safe?

  • Yes!
  • Puberty blockers have been used as an established treatment for children who develop too early as well as treating endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and prostate cancer.17
  • The Endocrine Society and the National Library of Medicine have declared that puberty blockers have been a “safe and effective” intervention for transgender youth.5/19

What are the side effects of blockers? How do they affect your emotions? Do they diminish physical development?

  • While there are concerns that puberty blockers can affect bone development, most studies show that this is a temporary side effect and most lost bone is replaced after the treatment is over.21
    • Hormonal “add-back” treatments taken at the same time as the blockers can prevent bone loss and assist in preventing other symptoms such as hot flashes.12
  • GnRH (puberty blockers) can interact with other medications.21 That’s why it’s so important for a doctor to be involved in this decision.
  • The psychological state of youth ages 12 and up with Gender Dysphoria greatly improves with the use of puberty blockers.14
  • The first treatment could have similar side effects to birth control such as a “withdrawal bleed,” changes in blood pressure, and/or headaches in youth with a uterus.13
  • Some people may gain a few inches in height after puberty than their predicted growth.13
  • Puberty blockers have no effect on fertility as an adult.9

Why do transgender youth need puberty blockers?

  • Blockers can give adolescents an easily-reversible way to determine if and how they want to proceed with their transitions.1
  • More than 40% of transgender people attempt suicide (9x the national average).17 Allowing transgender people to transition is proven to greatly benefit their mental health.2
  • Hormone therapies are considered medically necessary for many transgender individuals.
  • Social transitions can be challenging if an individual’s appearance differs from their gender identity. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Endocrine Society suggest socially transitioning at the same time as medical therapy.20
  • Blockers can give the youth time to decide if they want to continue their transition.1
  • Starting puberty blockers early can negate the need for breast removal or voice modification therapy later on.17

Is age 14 old enough to make the decision to start puberty blockers?

  • Yes!
  • Pennsylvania youth can consent to mental health treatments, prescription drugs, and birth control at the age of 14.15
  • Most children identify their gender by age 3. The gender that the child identifies with is usually fixed by the time puberty hits.8
  • Most youth who are prescribed puberty blockers begin treatment at early signs of puberty which can be as young as age 8, but usually by age 10-12.2
  • Between 2004 and 2016, the average age of prescription for the puberty blocker Histrelin, one of the more commonly studied puberty blockers, was 14 years old.7
  • Beginning the transition earlier in life can minimize the need for expensive surgeries later.17

What if the minor decides they don’t want to transition?

  • Blockers don’t make any permanent changes to the body. They can stop treatment and puberty will resume as normal.12

If you’d like to see where we got this information, please view our references page.

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