Puberty Blockers May Cause Irreversible Harm to Young Boys, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

The study included 87 children total, with 16 boys who identified as girls and nine of whom took puberty blockers.

A Mayo Clinic study published in late March 2024 found that boys who take puberty blockers may suffer “irreversible” harm.
A Mayo Clinic study published in late March 2024 found that boys who take puberty blockers may suffer “irreversible” harm. (photo: Nephron / Wikimedia|CC BY-SA 3.0)

When parents seek medical help for their gender-confused children, they are assured that puberty blockers are “reversible” treatment that pauses puberty, offering the “chance to explore gender identity.” 

But a Mayo Clinic study published in late March found that boys who take puberty blockers may suffer “irreversible” harm.

The study, published on a website hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Minnesota, found that adolescent boys who take puberty blockers may experience fertility problems and atrophied testes.

Eleven Mayo Clinic scientists based in Rochester, Minnesota, studied the effect of puberty blockers on testicular cells. The researchers discovered “unprecedented” evidence “revealing detrimental pediatric testicular sex gland responses to [puberty blockers].” 

While the Mayo Clinic website currently claims that puberty blockers simply “pause” puberty and “don’t cause permanent physical changes,” this recent study is just one of many that have sounded the alarm about the various harms of puberty blockers. In 2022, one study gained national attention after it found that putting children on puberty blockers causes irreversible harm to bone density

The March study suggested that “abnormalities” from the data “raise a potential concern regarding the complete ‘reversibility’ and reproductive fitness of [spermatogonial stem cells]” for youth taking puberty blockers. 

Researchers found that puberty blockers hurt the development of sperm production and could affect fertility when children grow up. They reported “mild-to-severe sex gland atrophy in puberty blocker-treated children.”

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, looked at testicular samples for 87 patients under the age of 18. The study included 87 children total, with 16 boys who identified as girls and nine of whom took puberty blockers. 

Two of the nine who were taking puberty blockers had abnormal features on their testicles that were observable from a physical examination. 

The Mayo Clinic researchers noted that they began the study in a context where “the consequences” of puberty blockers for “juvenile testicular development and reproductive fitness” are “poorly understood.” 

“To the best of our knowledge, no rigorous study has been reported on extended puberty blockade in pediatric populations and its long-term consequences on reproductive fitness,” the authors noted. 

Yet puberty blockers, originally developed to suppress hormones of minors who began puberty too early, are prescribed to children experiencing gender dysphoria. 

Meanwhile, European countries such as Finland, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. have restrictions or bans on puberty blockers for children. England ended puberty blockers for kids just last month. 

“Puberty blockers … are not available to children and young people for gender incongruence or gender dysphoria because there is not enough evidence of safety and clinical effectiveness,” the NHS England website’s section on “treatment” for gender dysphoria read after the update. 

Pope Francis (R) embraces new Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich after he appointed him during an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on October 5, 2019 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

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