Study Says Puberty Blockers Cause Fertility Issues, Casts Doubt on ‘Reversibility’

( – A new study raises concerns over the safety of puberty blockers in adolescents and teens. It offers evidence that the drugs could cause fertility issues in the long run. It also casts doubts on their so-called reversibility in some users and supports the notion that the medical industry is turning transgender individuals into life-long patients.

The study, “Puberty Blocker and Aging Impact on Testicular Cell States and Function,” has not yet passed the peer-review process, but co-writer Nagarajan Kannan, who works for Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, funded it. The researchers noted that previous research on the effects of altering sex hormones is grossly limited.

They cite a 1980 study on female prepubescent rhesus monkeys, which showed gonadotropin-releasing hormone infusions temporarily induced ovarian cycles in the animals. Stopping the drug caused the monkeys’ ovaries to revert “to an immature state.”

The findings have been used as evidence that the effects of sex hormones, once discontinued, have no lasting effects on users. No one established any proof that their use was just as safe in males, the researchers argue, particularly when it comes to subjects’ ability to produce functioning sperm cells. They believe no previous study on long-term fertility exists — and yet doctors currently prescribe puberty blockers to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of patients each year.

The study found that genetic males who received hormonal therapy to block puberty and/or “transition” into females experienced abnormal testicular development. Some had atrophy alone, but 59% also showed the presence of microlithiasis or small clusters of calcifications. Research indicates that the condition could have links to testicular cancer.

The repercussions of testicular atrophy could also impair later sperm development, with early treatment age being a major factor in the person’s outcome. Further research is needed, but this latest study suggests permanent effects on fertility are possible. Researchers are particularly interested in exploring the long-term effects on gene expression and sperm stem cells.

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