Study: Doctors Using Dangerous Steroids On Fetuses In Experiment To Reduce Lesbianism, Tomboyism, Intersexuality

In short, U.S. doctors have injected at least a thousand pregnant women with hazardous, non-FDA-approved synthetic steroids (without warning them of the risks) in a bizarre experimental effort to reduce future “tomboyism, lesbianism and bisexuality” in fetuses that may be genetically prone to those traits. The Northwestern University News Center unravels the disturbing medical news:

A new paper just published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry uses extensive Freedom of Information Act findings to detail an extremely troubling off-label medical intervention employed in the U.S. on pregnant women to intentionally engineer the development of their fetuses for sex normalization purposes.

The pregnant women targeted are at risk for having a child born with the condition congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), an endocrinological condition that can result in female fetuses being born with intersex or more male-typical genitals and brains. Women genetically identified as being at risk are given dexamethasone, a synthetic steroid, off-label starting as early as week five of the first trimester to try to “normalize” the development of those fetuses, which are female and CAH-affected. Because the drug must be administered before doctors can know if the fetus is female or CAH-affected, only one in eight of those exposed are the target type of fetus. The off-label intervention does not prevent CAH; it aims only at sex normalization.

Clinician proponents of the intervention have been interested in whether the intervention can reduce rates of tomboyism, lesbianism and bisexuality, characteristics they have termed “behavioral masculinization.”

For more than 10 years, medical societies repeatedly but ultimately impotently expressed high alarm at use of this off-label intervention outside prospective clinical trials, because it is so high risk and because nearly 90 percent of those exposed cannot benefit. Mothers offered the intervention have been told it “has been found safe for mother and child” but in fact there has never been any such scientific evidence. A just-out report from Sweden in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism documents a nearly 20 percent “serious adverse event” rate among the children exposed in utero.

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  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I hate to play momentary devil’s advocate for this…since I disapprove of deceptive experimentation across the board, but it looks like half the hype ignores that the focus isn’t on ‘reducing lesbianism, tomboys, and normalizing gender’…the focus is on altering/preventing CAH…which does have medical implications far beyond gender preference and identity issues. Panic and hype diminish the seriousness of the ethical issues here.

    In any case…its offensive enough that the clinicians involved are ‘interested’ in the effects of the treatment on gender identity issues. The bright side is that none of this means the end of lesbianism. The segment of the population with a CAH related issue causing gender dysphoria is so small as to be statistically irrelevant. Among that tiny population there is a heightened rate of gender issues…which might be changed by these treatments…which might ultimately affect the number of lesbians by a matter of dozens per year…and thats generously assuming that these treatments for CAH issues became incredibly commonplace…and actually worked.

    The best way to deal with this in a realistic and honest way…is to question the sanity and professionalism of ANYONE who would characterize dexamethasone as ‘safe for mother and child’. It just isn’t. The doctors involved really should be stripped of the right to practice medicine…because Dr Mengele comes to mind. Just the fact that positive results from the treatment actually seem to be rarer than side effects should be sufficient to warrant dropping the concept altogether…and in this case it appears that whether the doctors were ‘affiliated’ with the drug maker or not…they’ve been sufficiently influenced to keep trying no matter poorly things go. If the US had any teeth left in enforcement of scientific ethics or standards…this shit would even be an issue.

  • Heather

    This is the most bias article I’ve seen on here in a while. For shame.

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