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Hormone treatment of gender identity disorder in a cohort of children and adolescents

Med J Aust 2012; 196 (9): 578-581. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10222

Summary

Objective: To describe the experience of hormone treatment of gender identity disorder (GID) in children and adolescents within a specialist clinic.

Design, patients and setting: Cohort study by medical record review of children aged 0–17 years referred during 2003–2011 for management at the GID clinic in a tertiary paediatric referral centre — the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria.

Main outcome measures: Clinical characteristics of the patient population, hormone treatment provided, frequency of referrals with time.

Results: Thirty-nine children and adolescents were referred for gender dysphoria. Seventeen individuals were pubertal with persistent GID, and were considered eligible for hormone treatment. Seven patients, comprising three biological males and four biological females, had legally endorsed hormone treatment. In this group, gender dysphoria was first noted at 3–6 years of age. Hormone treatment with GnRH analogue to suppress pubertal progression (phase 1) was given at 10–16 years of age. Treatment with cross-sex hormones (phase 2) was given at 15.6–16 years. One patient purchased cross-sex hormone treatment overseas. One patient received oestrogen and progesterone for menstrual suppression before phase 1. The annual frequency of new referrals increased continuously over the study period.

Conclusions: Hormone treatment for pubertal suppression and subsequent gender transition needs to be individualised within stringent protocols in multidisciplinary specialist units.

  • Jacqueline K Hewitt1
  • Campbell Paul1
  • Porpavai Kasiannan1
  • Sonia R Grover1
  • Louise K Newman2
  • Garry L Warne1

  • 1 Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: jacky.hewitt@rch.org.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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