British children as young as nine are eligible to board the train for a sex reassignment surgery, according to the Mail on Sunday. The Tavistock Institute, a clinic for gender disorders, and the Portman NHS Foundation Trust have conducted a trial of 32 children who received puberty-suppressing drugs. Dr Polly Carmichael, who was in charge, believes that this was successful. Only eight of the group went on to have sex-change surgery, but it gave the others a breathing space to decide which sex they want to be and whether they really wish to begin hormone treatment and preparation for sex-change surgery.
Hypothalamic blockers would be injected monthly, according to The Telegraph. These drugs slow the development of the sexual organs by blocking the production of testosterone and oestrogen.
Dr Carmichael wants to offer the program for children as young as possible. It is best to begin administering the drugs before children enter puberty and since onset is falling in Western countries, 9 or 10 seems like an appropriate age. She told the Mail on Sunday:
‘Now we’ve done the study and the results thus far have been positive we’ve decided to continue with it. So we’ve decided to do “stage not age” [as the criterion] because it’s obviously fairer. Twelve is an arbitrary age. If they started puberty aged nine or ten instead of 12, as long as they’re monitored and the bone density doesn’t suffer, then it is right that the aim is to stop the development of secondary sex characteristics.’
Dr Carmichael insisted that the injections are only given to children who meet strict criteria. They must give informed consent, and have parental consent, normal bone density and weight, and no serious mental health problems.
They must also have had a persistent conviction that they are of a different sex for four years. So a 9-year-old must have felt this way since the age of 5.
Sex change treatment for primary school children is highly controversial. Victoria Gillick, a well-known British pro-life campaigner told the Mail on Sunday: “There will, in the future, be an awful lot of doctors who will be sued by older men and women for having done something to them before they were of an age to understand what the significance of it was. The children are not of an age to decide and it’s probably the parents who need more and better counselling rather than starting to medicate their children so drastically. Most parents would think this is the medical profession going too far.’
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