Hormone blockers: Irish versus British policy

Sam Hewitt 

UK’s Laws 

Three senior judges have ruled in an action brought against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the main Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for children in the UK.  

On the first of December, the UK high court ruled that: “Children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be mature enough to give informed consent to be prescribed puberty-blocking drugs.”  

A spokesperson for the NHS in response said that since the ruling, Tavistock and Portman have suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for all under 16’s.   

Tavistock and Portman, a National Health Service, Foundation Trust, osaid they were ‘disappointed’ by the ruling.  

A teenager under 16 seeking hormones will henceforth only be permitted to receive them when a court specifically authorizes it.  

Ireland’s Laws. 

In Ireland, the Children’s Health Hospital (CHI) in Crumlin treats children who are struggling with their gender identity and/or suffering from gender dysphoria. 

Children in this clinic are eligible for hormone therapy as young as 11-12 with parental/guardian consent. In other words, Irish policy is a lot more lenient than its British counterpart as a result of the recent ruling. 

It is worth noting, however, that Tavistock and Portman can refer a patient to the CHI Crumlin  for treatment as part of the HSE Treatment Abroad Scheme.  

Long before an Irish child can even be considered for medical treatment, the child is sent to England by the HSE for psychological assessment to decide if they are indeed suffering from gender dysphoria.

If the professionals are convinced, the child will be sent back home to the CHI clinic where they are given psychological support, while some children are given the combination of psychological support and medical treatment using puberty blockers.  

It can be seen that a minor living in Ireland who is transgender has a considerably better chance of succeeding in seeking hormone therapy than if they were living in the UK, in tandem with psychological support in order to help them deal with and not be overwhelmed by the anxiety and mental stress that is caused by gender dysphoria.  

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