Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Medical report details doctors using steroid to prevent lesbianism
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2012-08-15

This article shared 6133 times since Wed Aug 15, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In a recently published paper in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, researchers have outlined doctors using an off-label synthetic steroid—dexamethasone—on pregnant women at risk of carrying a female fetus affected by congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).

The report claims that the physicians are using dexamethasone to prevent female babies with a propensity toward lesbianism, bisexuality, tomboyism and intersexuality from being born.

The paper's authors are Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Ellen Feder, associate professor of philosophy and religion at American University and Anne Tamar-Mattis, founder and executive director of Advocates for Informed Choice.

CAH is, according to the paper "an endocrinological condition that can cause virilization which is more commonly known as the development of masculine traits in female fetuses." Dexamethasone is, according to the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine website, "a corticosteroid, similar to a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It often is used to replace this chemical when your body does not make enough of it."

In the report—which used extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) findings—they assert that "this intervention has been aimed at preventing development of ambiguous genitalia, the urogenital sinus, tomboyism, and lesbianism and intentionally engineering the development of fetuses for sex normalization purposes in CAH-affected female fetuses." According to the American Urological Association Foundation website, a urogenital sinus is "a defect present at birth in which the vagina and urethra open into a common channel, rather than separately."

Since the drug is administered to pregnant women as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed some women, according to the report, are given the drug before a CAH diagnosis or the sex of the baby is determined. If a fetus is diagnosed as a CAH-affected female, dexamethasone continues to be administered throughout the pregnancy, however, if the fetus is shown to be male or not CAH-affected the drug ceased to be given to the patient "because the intention is only to alter the course of development in CAH-affected females."

Tamar-Mattis notes that "prenatal dexamethasone does not cure CAH, and does not treat the underlying endocrine dysfunction. It is only intended to prevent the development of atypical genitals and 'behavioral masculinization'. There is no substitute prenatal treatment, but it is not clear that 'treatment' is justified. A small number of girls born with CAH will require surgery for physiological reasons, and prenatal dexamethasone may prevent some of these cases. But most cases of atypical genitals are simply cosmetic, and there is no evidence that atypical genitals cause harm (although most doctors would do surgery on these cases as well). Lesbianism and tomboyish behavior, of course, are not medical issues. Attempts to prevent these characteristics through prenatal use of risky medication are clearly unethical."

The researchers assert in their report that there are numerous ethical problems surrounding this treatment including: "misleading promotion to physicians and CAH-affected families, de facto experimentation without the necessary protections of approved research, troubling parallels to the history of prenatal use of diethylstilbestrol (DES)—(which was given to pregnant women in the 1970s and is now banned because it was shown to cause cancer and fertility problems), and the use of medicine and public monies to attempt prevention of benign behavioral sex variations."

The most prominent promoter of dexamethasone for CAH-affected fetuses is Dr. Maria New of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. New is a pediatric endocrinologist, professor of pediatrics, endocrinology—adrenal steroid disorder, professor of genetics and genomic sciences and member of the National Academy of Sciences. In her work, according to the report, "she had already publicly taken credit for having 'treated' more than 600 pregnant women with dexamethasone in an attempt to prevent virilization in CAH-affected female fetuses."

During the researchers FOIA request process they uncovered the fact that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) "funded New to see whether prenatal dexamethasone 'works' to make more CAH-affected girls straight and interested in having babies." New's 1996 grant application states that "the spectrum of behavioral effects of CAH ranges from mild or marked tomboyish behavior of childhood to increased adolescent/adult bisexuality and lesbianism; through full male identification with request for sex reassignment surgery and legal gender change in adolescence or adulthood. In addition, genital abnormalities and often multiple corrective surgeries needed affect social interaction, self image, romantic and sexual life, and fertility. As a consequence, many of these patients, and the majority of women with the salt-losing variant—of CAH, appear to remain childless and single. Preventive prenatal dexamethasone exposure is expected to improve this situation."

New's NIH grant application specifically promised to try to determine "the success of dexamethasone in suppressing behavioral masculinization." According to the findings of the report the researchers determined that there is an absence of Institutional Review Board "oversight for prenatal dexamethasone administration for CAH at Mount Sinai, where New began working in June 2004."

When 32 academicians raised concerns with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) they were told in September 2010 that "they could find nothing worth pursuing further. The OHRP decided that the abuse had not occurred since New is not usually the doctor who signs the prescription for prenatal dexamethasone therefore the patients didn't need this kind of protection. The FDA explained that regulations allow a clinician to promote an off-label use—even an experimental use intended to alter fetal development—as 'safe and effective' so long as the clinician doe not simultaneously work for the drug maker or count as an FDA approved investigator of the drug."

Upon further investigation, Dreger, Feder and Tamar-Mattis said that "the material generated by the government's own investigations—along with further scholarly inquiry on our part—appear to actually confirm the concerns we expressed at the outset; suggesting a major failure of the layered systems designed to protect subjects of research, especially pregnant women and their fetuses." They have expressed disappointment in the government agencies that are charged with looking out for the welfare of patients through the oversight and the informed consent processes.

Tamar-Mattis told Windy City Times that the researchers "have also objected to the fact that mothers taking the drug, often on the advice of New's clinic, were apparently not fully informed of the risks and that while they were on the drugs they would be studied to see if it was harmful. New has repeatedly stated publicly that the drug is 'safe and effective' although this claim has not been adequately tested and some studies have shown harm."

When reached for comment, New did not respond to queries about the report or her research practices.

To read the entire report, visit www.springerlink.com/content/m1523l7615744552.


This article shared 6133 times since Wed Aug 15, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Quigley commends progress in FDA LGBTQI+ blood donation draft guidance
2023-01-27
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, released the following statement commending long-awaited updates to the FDA's blood donation guidance for LGBTQI+ ...


Gay News

FDA to relax rules of blood donations for gay, bisexual men
2023-01-27
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly slated to lift restrictions on blood donations from sexually active gay and bisexual men. However, there's at least one stipulation, The Advocate reported: A gay or bisexual ...


Gay News

TPAN announces merger with Vivent Health
2023-01-20
Local HIV/AIDS organization TPAN announced Jan. 19 that it would be merging with Milwaukee-based Vivent Health. The merger is expected to be finalized by March 1, according to both organizations. Vivent Health, so named in 2019, ...


Gay News

One in five older LGBT adults experienced poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic
2023-01-19
--From a press release - A new report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that during the COVID-19 pandemic LGBT adults aged 50 and older were more likely to have household incomes below the federal poverty level ...


Gay News

Controversial conversion therapy doc has its Chicago premiere
2023-01-18
Chronicle Cinema presented the celebrated and controversial documentary film Conversion in its Chicago premiere on Jan. 12. The nearly sold-out premiere, which took place at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, also featured a red-carpet experience and ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Asylum-seekers, equality updates, cannabis, HIV and COVID
2023-01-15
Advocacy groups that specifically work with LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers and migrants criticized the Biden administration's expansion of the use of "expedited removal" of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans who enter the ...


Gay News

Pritzker signs bill protecting healthcare providers
2023-01-13
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill explicitly offering protections to Illinois healthcare providers working on reproductive and/or gender-affirming care issues for their patients on Jan. 13. The bill, HB4664, also protects out-of-state clinicians who come to ...


Gay News

Illinois General Assembly passes legislation to protect reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare, leaders respond
2023-01-11
--From a news release - From Equality Illinois Statement from Equality Illinois Deputy Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco on passage by the Illinois General Assembly of essential legislation to protect patients, providers, and families seeking and providing ...


Gay News

WORLD Murder suspect arrested, Israeli official, conversion therapy, couple's win
2023-01-08
Kenyan authorities arrested a suspect in the death of fashion designer/LGBTQ+-rights activist Edwin Chiloba after his body was found dumped in a metal box by the roadside near the town of Eldoret, according to CNN. Last ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Democrats and trans issues, political wins, gay bars, HIV drug
2023-01-08
Republicans and Democrats differ widely in their views on gender identity and transgender issues—but there are notable differences among Democrats, too, especially by race and ethnicity, according to Pew Research. Overall, 60% of U.S. adults say ...


Gay News

Howard Brown, union officials dispute allegations around sidewalk incident
2023-01-06
As striking Howard Brown Health Workers United (HBH Workers United) members represented by the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) and their allies were picketing outside of the Andersonville Brown Elephant location at 5404 N. Clark St. on ...


Gay News

Howard Brown strike reaches third day
2023-01-05
Amid layoffs of 60 unionized and four non-union staffers at multiple Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown), Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant locations across Chicago, over 400 HBH Workers United non-nurse members represented by the Illinois ...


Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, Indian school, trans boxers, anti-LGBTQ+ move
2022-12-31
South Florida Gay News noted that efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy gained a lot of traction around the world in 2022. For example, Canada and France introduced LGBTQ+-inclusive bills to ban conversion therapy for minors ...


Gay News

2022: Gains made against a backdrop of attacks
2022-12-27
There was no shortage of dramatic and consequential events to consider as the top stories for the LGBTQ+ community in 2022, and most of those events threaten to spill over into 2023: the Supreme Court's interest ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health staff prepares for January strike
2022-12-24
Illinois Nursing Association (INA) filed an intent-to-strike notice against the Howard Brown Health medical organization on Dec. 23, after negotiations between the two sides have further strained in recent months. ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.