The mother of a gender-confused girl is suing the NHS’s gender identity clinic for children over its use of puberty-blocking drugs.
Known in court documents as ‘Mrs A’, the woman says her 15-year-old daughter is autistic and cannot properly consent to being given hormone-blocking drugs.
Mrs A says children and their parents are not told the various risks, and are being given “inaccurate and potentially misleading” information by the clinic.
Parents are already able to apply for a court order to prevent the prescribing of drugs they feel are not in their child’s best interests, even if their child has given consent and is deemed competent by clinicians.
But Mrs A wants the courts to block the Tavistock and Portman’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) from administering the “experimental” drugs to anyone unless a court decides it is in the child’s best interests.
She says a review should take place and procedures should be put on hold until more is known about the effects of puberty-blocking drugs.
Mrs A says her daughter is autistic and has other mental health problems, but that the clinic has not considered the complexities of her child’s condition.
She said she has “deep concerns” that the approach taken by GIDS means her daughter will be subjected to “experimental treatment”.
The mother is concerned over inadequate regulation and insufficient safeguards, adding that “no one, let alone my daughter, understands the risks and therefore cannot ensure informed consent is obtained”.
Mrs A also highlighted the disproportionate number of patients at the clinic who are autistic girls.
“There are many parents, like me, who are anxiously trying to support their children through an already turbulent adolescence, with the additional distress of issues surrounding identity development.
“We want the best for our children, but we need this to be from a position of evidence-based, not experimental, medicine.”
The Times suggested that GIDS may be failing children by fast-tracking them into life-altering treatments they do not fully understand.
“To change gender is momentous. Children should not be rushed into setting out on that path. And they should be fully aware of the risks, both psychological and physical.
“As things stand, with evidence on the long-term effects of hormone blockers still thin on the ground, it is not clear that any child, whether autistic or not, is in the position to make that decision.”