Doctor Denies She Is Trying To Prevent Lesbianism

The story surrounding Pediatric endocrinologist Maria New's use of an experimental hormone to treat  congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a condition that can cause "ambiguous genitalia" in female fetuses, is now getting attention from several other news publications. As posted here in June, the hormone has an alarming side effect that could potentially prevent lesbianism in the womb. CAH is a rare condition and only occurs in about a few dozen US births a year.

The LA Times reports

The hormonal treatment "theoretically can influence postnatal behavior, not just genital differentiation," said Ken Zucker, psychologist in chief of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who studies gender identity. "Some people refer to girls with CAH as experiments of nature because you've got this condition and you can take advantage of studying it."

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f1f66705970b-piComplicating the situation is the fact that the daily hormone pill does nothing to treat or cure the underlying condition, caused in this case by a defective enzyme in the adrenal gland.

Dreger and critics — which include the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Advocates for Informed Choice (an organization that works to protect the rights of people with intersex conditions), and some pediatric endocrinologists and parents of children with the condition — say far too little is known about the safety of the hormone, the steroid dexamethasone, when used prenatally. They say it should be used sparingly, in closely monitored clinical trials, or not at all. They're even more concerned that some doctors might tell parents that a reduced chance of homosexuality is one of the therapy's benefits.

"Most clinicians speak about this treatment as ambiguous-genitalia prevention," said Dreger, who co-wrote an editorial about the treatment in a July publication of the Hastings Center, a bioethics organization. "Others suggest that you should prevent homosexuality if you can. But being gay or lesbian is not a disease and should not be treated as such."

New denies the accusations that she is attempting to prevent homosexuality, telling Businessweek: "In my six years at Mount Sinai I have not administered the drug to any woman for the purpose of treating an unborn child. Allegations that my goal is to prevent lesbianism are completely untrue."



    Oh just another feature/package you can add to your designer baby though I’m with David Ehrenstein on this one. Male genitalia growth in female fetuses doesn’t automatically mark them for lesbianism neither does the exhibition of masculine attributes [Alicia Keys anyone?]

  2. Coco says

    The good doctor looks as if she’s trying to (unsuccessfully) hide a little lesbianism of her own!

  3. pablo says

    This sounds sort of like those militant deaf people who want to keep deaf kids from getting cochlear implants, except nobody even knows whether this drug will effect behavior.

  4. ratbastard says

    Let me get this straight (pardon the expression):

    This treatment may/is effective at preventing a child being born at least anatomically sexually ambiguous (who reading this thinks it’s not a big deal? Who questions the tortuous existence such a human being would/must live with?), but there are some people fighting it because it may somehow prevent a lesbian from being born/created? So, there are some people who’re willing to sacrifice the well-being and potential for happiness and normalcy of a few unfortunate human beings born with this condition in order to further a particular ideological cause?

  5. Dev says

    No, Ratbastard, people are fighting this because it is an untested method of administering dexamethasone with potential side effects that have not been thoroughly examined.

    If the treatment is shown unequivocally to be effective with no added risk to the fetus and the mother than there is no reason not to give it, but that is not the case.

  6. Peter says

    Dr. New may claim she personally doesn’t want to prevent lesbianism. But why is she refusing to recognize the possibility that there are people far less scrupulous than her who would be willing to use such a treatment? You already have parents who abort female fetuses because they want boys.

  7. says

    Were the women that took this drug informed that it’s still experimental and hasn’t been proven to actually prevent congenital adrenal hyperplasia ??

    They were medically testing an unproven drug on pregnant women.

  8. Fenrox says

    Hey there is a question for you guys: Is it all right to cure Trans? I guess so since if you are born in the correct sex thats a good thing and if you arent its a fight.

    Autism is a trickier one, As if you can cure Autism whats to stop you from curing gays? Both are just different brains, nothing technically wrong with either.

  9. ratbastard says

    Why no comments from various American medical associations and the FDA on this issue? Can she legally use this drug for the purpose she’s using it? This article isn’t clear. It’s fine to hear what a lesbian organization thinks, but what do her colleagues, the FDA, and the AMA think?